Pothole patrol: Harsh winter makes for bumpy DC area roads - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Pothole patrol: Harsh winter makes for bumpy DC area roads

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If you find one, you'll know it.  Most of us will hit a pothole at some point, but thanks to the rough winter, they're popping up more and more across the D.C. region.  The worst part?  They can do some serious damage to your vehicle.

D.C. has taken on potholes in a big way in the last five years with its annual "potholepalooza,"  But that effort doesn't really get going until mid or late March when temperatures are a little more stable.  So, until then, drivers will have to put up with temporary patches and some bumpy roads.  

Hitting a pothole--if its big enough-- can shred a tire or more.  They form in the winter when water seeps into the pavement and freezes, and then expands upward.  Vehicles driving over it erode the asphalt, and when the payment thaws, all of that falls into the hole-- which gets bigger as traffic keeps driving over it.

Some drivers told FOX 5 they're doing the best they can to avoid them  Others said they've been reporting them when they see them, and D.C.'s Department of Transportation says they've patched more than 5,700 potholes in the months of January and February.  Once reported, they say the potholes are usually fixed within about three days.  

Maryland's State Highway Administration says they aim for a one-day turnaround to fix potholes. VDOT doesn't put a timeframe on it, saying they'll make repairs as quickly as possible.  

Nationwide, damages from potholes cost motorists up to $5 billion each year.

If you have damage, it's possible you may be able to file a claim, but it's really important that you report the pothole because many times, in order to get reimbursed for damages, you'd have to be able to prove that the agency responsible for that road knew about the pothole and did not repair it in a timely manner.
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