Glenwood Public Works director pens letter regarding city’s limited options for pothole repair

Glenwood Springs’ ever-growing pothole problem has prompted Public Works Director Matthew Langhorst to pen an open letter to residents addressing the situation, particularly along South Midland Avenue.

In the March 12 letter, Langhorst discusses the challenges city crews face when repairing potholes, answered suggestions from the community on how to better manage potholes, and spoke to South Midland’s timeline for reconstruction.

The letter is available to read in its entirety on the city’s website.

“Due to very few drainage pipes, as well as barricades to prevent rolling rocks, the drainage along the roadway is hard to maintain, causing standing water in not ideal locations,” Langhorst wrote.

Langhorst said the city has received numerous suggestions on how to better manage potholes. Those recommendations include utilizing steel plates as well as cutting out the potholes, squaring up their edges, and filling them after a good base course repair.

According to Langhorst, steel plates do not work on non-flat surfaces, as they tend to move with every vehicle that drives over them.

“Steel plates may work in construction zones for a day or two at a time and for vehicles traveling at about [five miles per hour], but they will not work for our potholes,” Langhorst stated in his letter.

In regard to cutting out and squaring up the potholes, Langhorst explained that, because streets like South Midland provide little road base, doing so would only widen the potholes over time.

Originally scheduled to start this spring, plans to completely rebuild South Midland were postponed until 2020 after the city was the recipient of a $7 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) America grant.

Several strict guidelines and requirements from state and federal transportation officials, however, prompted a delay in the project.

“The city will not feasibly be able to bid the project out until late [summer or fall] of 2019, which pushes construction to begin in 2020,” Langhorst explained in the letter.

Langhorst did say the city would take more drastic measures this summer to fix the bumpy stretch of road to help mitigate potholes next winter, and to prepare for South Midland’s highly anticipated 2020 reconstruction.

Although not the case for South Midland, Langhorst said the city was “now following a process to keep the roads we have that are in good shape, in good shape.”

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