TxDOT to begin longterm repairs on potholes along I-35 near Rittiman

TxDOT: Drivers must shoulder cost of pothole damage

SAN ANTONIO – Potholes that damaged dozens of cars and ruined drivers' days had been repaired by Tuesday morning's commute - but only temporarily.

On Monday morning, one driver after another had to exit I-35 near Rittiman Road after their cars were damaged by water-filled potholes.

"I actually had changed lanes because I knew there was a pothole on the other side," Monique Chavoya said Monday after her tire blew when she hit a pothole.

That area of I-35 is currently under construction and the contractor on the job patched the potholes Monday, which is a normal procedure, said the Texas Department of Transportation's spokesperson, Josh Donat.

But the fix is only temporary.

"We're certainly sympathetic. It's a rough situation," Donat said Tuesday. "The temporary fix is just simply throwing some material in there. Mostly, it's what we call cold mix asphalt. It looks like gravel but it's really asphalt that gets harder when we compact it."

Donat says that is the fastest, easiest option. But another round of rain could wash it all away.

In fact, the same potholes were patched last week and days later they reappeared.

So why not a sturdier solution?

"The problem is that when you have the wet weather and you're repairing a hole that's already wet, that kind of an option just doesn't work," said Donat. "That water keeps the other methods of patching from bonding to the material around it."

Late Tuesday afternoon, TxDOT said it would begin long-term repairs to the potholes on I-35 near Rittiman overnight Tuesday.

Traffic patterns are not expected to change in that area.

TxDOT blames the potholes on cold, soggy weather to which South Texas - and its drivers - are not accustomed.

Donat says that potholes during similar weather conditions would be considered normal in other parts of the country.

"Water gets into the ground and when it gets cold it expands and when it warms back up it contracts. And it kind of starts creating an erosion process," said Donat.

Another pothole-plagued drive can be found along Highway 281 between Basse Road and Hildebrand Avenue.

TxDOT receives complaints about that stretch of road daily, said Donat.

Repair work has been scheduled on 281 for the last three weeks, but has been canceled repeatedly due to unfavorable weather conditions.

That work has been rescheduled to run this Friday through Monday, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

If your car suffers damage on state-operated roads, you can expect your wallet to take a hit, too.

"The department doesn't pay for damages caused by a normal road hazard, and potholes are considered a normal road hazard," Donat said. "We're monitoring it and doing the best we can."

To report a pothole to TxDOT, click here or call 210-615-1110.


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