Potholes a problem for East Liverpool

EAST LIVERPOOL – The river city is unique in many ways, but when it comes to potholes, it’s just like most other communities, according to Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell.

Saying he sympathizes and understands the frustration of residents traveling city streets riddled with potholes, Estell pointed out, “East Liverpool is certainly not unique. Most of the Midwest is dealing with this.”

With winter battering most of the Midwest with below-normal temperatures and above-normal amounts of snowfall this year, streets have started to resemble battlefields in most area communities, including the city, and Estell said trying to repair them while more snow and bitter temperatures are threatening is akin to throwing money away.

“If we expect to do road department work the entire year and help our employees work the entire year, we can’t (afford to) throw material in potholes just to have it come right back out,” he explained.

The city does purchase a premium grade cold material for filling potholes, and it can be placed in potholes while they are wet, but Estell said even this material does not work when temperatures are freezing.

When filling holes, the idea is to get materials to bond together, but when the ground is frozen, that bonding doesn’t take place, he said.

After conferring with City Council’s street committee Chairman Scott Barrett, Estell said, they could locate only one plant that is currently making hot patch that might remain in the holes despite the cold temperatures.

However, that plant is located in Canton, meaning that, by the time the material made its way back to the city, it would have cooled to a point that it would be ineffective.

With more winter storms predicted to produce zero temperatures this weekend and into next week, Estell said, “When the weather permits, we’ll get to it.”