Potholes plague drivers, no permanent fix in sight

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) –The ride along Cowan-Lorraine Road in Gulfport can be rocky.  Just ask any driver.

"The first couple of potholes I hit.  And I started trying to dodge them, but it's almost impossible," said Rick Cloutier of Gulfport.

"It's terrible. I've seen a lot of people down here with blowouts on the side of the road all the time," said David Favre of Biloxi.

More than a dozen potholes have popped-up along the heavily-traveled roadway over the past few days.  Another trouble spot in Harrison County is Canal Road, right under the I-10 overpass.

In Hancock County, you can find potholes on Highways 603 and 604.  And In Jackson County, Highways 613, 614, and Highway 90 at Ocean Springs Road are pretty bumpy.  Some holes are deeper than the size of a quarter.  The Mississippi Department of Transportation says the damage is caused by the record rainfall.

"Water got into a lot of cracks and asphalt and then of course, with motorists driving over it, the pressure builds up and it kind of eats away at the binder and the rock that we have in the asphalt," said MDOT Engineer Kelly Castleberry.

An MDOT crew took advantage of the dry weather on Wednesday to patch-up the hazardous holes.

"Right now, we're just temporarily filling the potholes.  We're not actually cutting any out.  We're just putting mix in to those potholes, just to get motorists to cross them safely before this next batch of rain occurs," said Castleberry.

"When the rain does come back, we will probably lose some of the patches that we've done today," he added.

Castleberry says the roads that have potholes on them are at least 10 years old. Some were built 25 years ago.  And he says they are all on a long list of roads that need to be resurfaced.

"We may have 45 to 50 roads on this list and usually the budget will restrain us to where we do seven or eight of these roads a year.  So based on priority, that determines where we overlay first," said Castleberry.

Castleberry says he's not sure where Cowan-Lorraine is on that list.  Until then, drivers will have to be patient, dodge the craters, or find an alternate route.

In January, when the weather is expected to dry up, MDOT plans to do a more permanent patch on the potholes.  That involves cutting out the potholes and filling the areas with asphalt.

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