Cities scramble to fill potholes

Feb 25, 2021 at 09:51 am by Michelle Willard

Murfreesboro Street Department crew
Murfreesboro Street Department crew fills potholes with cold patch. (Submitted by City of Murfreesboro)

After a week of ice and snow that blanketed Middle Tennessee, requiring the application of approximately 2,000 tons of salt on Murfreesboro streets and 500 tons of La Vergne streets, potholes have popped up throughout the county. To deepen the issue, freezing and refreezing have contributed to the problem. 

So now local municipalities are working to remedy the problem and possibly save a few flat tires by patching potholes that are popping up all over.

“We have 60 employees who are trained in pothole repair. They are ready to mobilize when citizens advise of dangerous potholes,” Murfreesboro Public Works Department Executive Director Raymond Hillis said. “Repairing our streets as quickly as possible is essential in our efforts to keep motorists’ safe and reduce vehicle damage.” 

During the past week Murfreesboro City Street crews worked over 80 hours in 12-hour shifts responding to the major winter storm.  These same employees are now out on City streets repairing potholes. 

The Murfreesboro City Street Department is currently using six pothole patching crews and the patch truck to repair roads due to the most recent snow and ice storms. Murfreesboro crews fill approximately 20 to 30 potholes a day, depending on the severity of the hazard and weather conditions. Potholes are formed when water that has seeped into the road freezes, expands and melts, loosening the pavement.  When vehicles drive over these spots, the impact further loosens the road, creating a hole. The mixture of water, salt and ice contributes to the pothole conditions. 

Over in La Vergne, seven street crew workers were on the clock for more than 500 work hours, salting roads and clearing snow. Now they've moved onto repairing potholes.

“Our guys worked very hard to do everything they could to keep the main roads and secondary roads clear,” La Vergne Public Works Manager Garlon Russell said. “Now our attention is to fix up all the roads that were damaged by the ice storm as quickly and as safely as possible.”

If you see a dangerous pothole, please notify:

Murfreesboro Street Department with information at 615-893-4380 during business hours from 7:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. When you see or drive over a pothole, make sure you pull over to a safe location to make the phone call. 

La Vergne Street Department by calling 615-793-9891 or by reporting it on the City’s “Report a Concern” tracker on the website, www.lavergnetn.gov.  when filling out the form, providing the street address and nearest cross street. There’s also an option to allow you to include a photo.

• Smyrna Street Department at 615-459-9766 or filling out the webform on the town's website.

Please be as specific as possible when reporting the pothole with the street location address, nearest cross street or block address, your name, phone number and e-mail address.

The Murfreesboro Street Department uses a “cold-mix” asphalt, a temporary fix especially suited for winter weather.  Temporary fix is a blend of small stone and liquid asphalt and is not designed for permanent repair. Once the asphalt plants open in late March/April (weather permitting) a more permanent repair can be made with “hot mix” of heated asphalt material with a stronger lasting bond. Street crew also utilize a patch truck that mixes emulsion and stone for a permanent fix. Both methods will be utilized due to the larger amount of damage to city roads this season. 

And remember keep Street crews safe by obeying mobile work zone signs and observe the following:  

  • Stay alert and minimize distractions 
  • Don’t tailgate 
  • Merge into proper lane safely 
  • Don’t speed 
  • And Be patient 


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