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Bumpy and slippery roads to be with us for a while

Posted by: Tim Harlow under On the road Updated: February 24, 2014 - 1:15 PM

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has asked Minneapolis residents to not be bashful in calling 311 to report potholes on city streets. Based on how they are popping up all across the city, those operators will likely be very busy.

But first we have to get rid of the ice that has caked itself on the roads, especially in downtown Minneapolis and on residential areas where buildings and trees have blocked the sun from providing any help.

Mike Kennedy, director of Minneapolis Public Works, says that below zero weather expected this week will only make it harder to remove the half- to two-inch bullet-proof ice that has bonded to the pavement.

"It's going to be a while before we see improvements on main streets," he said. When it gets below 15 degrees "chemicals don't work as well and lose their effectiveness. We are stuck with this situation."

That means 6th Street around Target Center and other streets completely in the shade won't get the benefit of the sun's radiant energy. Look for the ice pack and washboard conditions to linger there the longest, as well as under skyways, bridge decks and other places the sun doesn't shine.

"Crews are out doing the best they can based on what Mother Nature has thrown at us," Kennedy said.

Maybe she could send warmer temperatures.

But that brings us back to potholes. They are exploding everywhere. And at this time of the year, crews can't get to them all because they are removing snow.

"We only have so many resources," Kennedy said. "There is an expectation that every pothole will be filled and that's not going to happen [immediately] Please have patience. It will be a battle."

Eventually they will get filled, but not as long as this extraordinary winter rolls on. But go ahead and report the ones you see. Potholes are logged into the city's system. Especially problematic areas get moved to the top of the repair list.

"I am asking for your help in reporting potholes," the Mayor wrote in a letter that appeared in the Fulton Nextdoor newsletter. "Please help us keep Minneapolis pothole-free. We're working as quickly as we can to fix the problems and look forward to hearing from you on where they pop up next. I appreciate your help and hope you see all the improvements soon."

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