HELENA — Drivers around the Helena area will likely see city of Helena crews working on patching potholes this spring and summer.
The City’s Transportation Systems Director David Knoepke noted that crews use a hot patching method this time of year which lasts longer than ‘temporary’ cold-mix patches.
“In the wintertime, we use cold mix and that's basically the cold version of asphalt that's been either milled up or laid and it's cold as it implies. It goes into the potholes that we replace in the wintertime and they get heated up with a propane torch to a temperature that we can get it to hopefully bind together. And that's our – you know, pretty much a temporary patch.”
Potholes on city roads aren’t just a nuisance to drivers, but they can also be both dangerous and expensive.
According to a survey conducted by AAA in 2021, “1 in 10 drivers sustained vehicle damage significant enough to warrant a repair after hitting a pothole. With an average price tag of almost $600 per repair, damage caused by potholes cost drivers a staggering $26.5 billion.”
Currently, the City of Helena is working to patch as many as they can on city roads to help prevent that damage but only have one truck available to assist crews in filling them while they wait for the second one to be repaired.
“We're waiting on parts for that – that piece and once they come in, we'll get that repaired and then we'll have a can have the two patched trucks out and gone around. And, you know, we try to get the main streets first and then we grid the rest of the town so that we can try to hit every street and then get as many potholes done as we can,” said Knoepke.
MTN spoke with several Helena residents on Thursday afternoon who mentioned that potholes on 11th Avenue were especially troublesome. Knoepke noted the Transportation Department was originally scheduled to repair 11th Avenue from Cruse Avenue to Montana Avenue but construction on Rodney Street delayed the project to this year.
“This year, second week in July we’ll be milling the entire surface from Cruse to Montana, and then soon after that, we'll be putting down new asphalt along that entire length,” said Knoepke.
However, with miles and miles of roads to keep track of it’s nearly impossible for the city to know where every pothole is. Knoepke did note that the city has a mobile application where citizens can send direct requests to the city for things like street repairs.
“I just encourage people to use the My Helena app. It's a great way to communicate with the city. You get updates as we either investigate or work at that. And then not only is it a nice communication between the citizens and the city, but it also gives us good metrics to analyze and see what areas of town may need to be addressed more,” said Knoepke.
The website version of the My Helena App can be found here. The mobile version of the app can be found in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by searching ‘My Helena.’