Potholes were abundant in the region following the ice storms


Area drivers took to social media to show off their blown tires after driving over large potholes on area roadways over the last week following the winter weather.

Potholes formed all over the region after water seeped into cracks in the roadways, which then froze and thawed again after the snow and ice storm.

“It’s pothole season here in the [Pacific Northwest], where travelers are coming across potholes on city, county and state roads following a stretch of freezing temperatures and a lot of precipitation,” stated Sarah Hannon-Nein, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Southwest Region communications, in an email. “WSDOT maintenance crews know that after the treatment of snowy and icy road conditions come weeks of pothole patching and repair. These immediate pothole responses by maintenance crews are temporary fixes.”

Hannon-Nein added that crews remove loose debris and then lay down a cold mix asphalt to smooth out the roadway.

“A temporary patch can last from a couple of weeks to a few months,” she said. “More permanent fixes tend to occur during drier summer months as pavement work is weather dependent.” 

In 2023, WSDOT maintenance crews patched approximately 360 potholes in Clark and Cowlitz counties, mostly on Interstate 5, Hannon-Nein added. Following the recent winter weather, WSDOT maintenance crews have received 36 pothole complaints since Jan. 21.   

“Based on our lack of sufficient maintenance and preservation funding, a lot of our asphalt and concrete pavement surfaces on roadways like interstate 5 and Interstate 205 in southwest Washington are at the end of their serviceable life and already in need of replacement, so following freezing temperatures potholes pop up much quicker and are more severe,” she said. “Crews will continue to patch these potholes as they appear. Our maintenance crews travel our state roads to do their work and use state-owned routes in their own communities, so we typically become aware of new potholes quickly. The public are always welcome to contact WSDOT to report a pothole or any other roadway concern.”