Potholes can be costly

Anyone driving in the right lane of U.S. 52 East, through the city of Portsmouth, knows what a pothole can do to a highway or a car. AAA recently came out with a report stating, pothole damage costs $3 billion annually.

The AAA report indicates that pothole damage has cost U.S. drivers $15 billion in vehicle repairs over the last five years, or approximately $3 billion annually.

“In the last five years, 16 million drivers across the country have suffered pothole damage to their vehicles,” said Steve Popovich, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Services in a released statement. “The problems range from tire punctures and bent wheels, to more expensive suspension damage.”

Locally the Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) has come up with a paving project slated for U.S. 52 in the city of Portsmouth.

The project calls for the paving of the U.S. 52 from the East corporation limit to the West cooperation limit of the city.

This project was initially slated to go out to bid in March and was delayed until April.

The project is estimated to cost $1.728 million and should be done around November. ODOT did a similar project within the village of New Boston in 2015.

Craig Opperman, Scioto County Engineer says pothole and drag patching of county roadways cost his department $273,703.15 in 2015. There were nine miles of county roads drag patched with $57,119.35 in labor costs, $139,038.91 in material costs and $17,526.69 in equipment costs, totaling $213,684.95.

The county 2015 pothole patching program cost the county $31,859.08 in labor costs, $20,958.79 in material costs and $7,200.33 in equipment costs, totaling $60,018.20.

The AAA report points out the high cost of vehicle repair, after driving on roads with potholes.

AAA offers tips for yourself and vehicle while driving on roads with excessive potholes.

Inspect Tires – The tire is the most important cushion between a car and a pothole. Make sure tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. When checking tire pressures, ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels.

Look Ahead – Make a point of checking the road ahead for potholes. An alert driver may have time to avoid potholes, so it’s important to stay focused on the road and not any distractions inside or outside the vehicle.

Slow Down – If a pothole cannot be avoided, reduce speed safely being sure to check the rearview mirror before any abrupt braking. Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damage to tires, wheels and suspension components

Beware of Puddles – A puddle of water can disguise a deep pothole. Use care when driving through puddles and treat them as though they may be hiding potholes

Check Alignment – Hitting a pothole can knock a car’s wheels out of alignment and affect the steering. If a vehicle pulls to the left of right, have the wheel alignment checked out

Recognize Noises/Vibrations – A hard pothole impact can dislocate wheel weights, damage a tire or wheel, and bend or even break suspension components. Any new or unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.

In its report, AAA acknowledges the ever growing need to fix potholes on federal highways. The report states, as much as $170 billion in additional funding is needed per year to significantly improve America’s roads and bridges.

For more information about the programs and services offered by AAA visit, www.aaa.com.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT