By John Shumway

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From the rural roads to the interstates, the ravages of Mother Nature have punished without discrimination or conscience. Anyone who has gripped a steering wheel in the last 24 hours has noticed the proliferation of potholes.

“Oh yea! It’s not your imagination, I’ve noticed it too,” says PennDOT Allegheny County Maintenance Manager Jason Zang. “Our crews are out right now filling potholes.”

The story is the same for most municipal road crews. They’ve parked the plows and picked up the shovels. Last week’s heavy rain, followed by the freeze over, then the ice and snow created a cycle from Mother Nature that gets under the skin of our roads and causes asphalt to heave.

Zang says, “If something starts to heave a bit, the plows catch it and it pops it out. It creates the pothole immediately.”

Hot asphalt is not available this time of year, so they are using cold patch. Zang says they know the patches won’t last, but they have to do something.

“There’s so many of them, we can’t spend too much time on them. We go in there get some material in it and we move on,” he says.

Just enough material to keep your tire from bottoming out.

PennDOT’s Angelo Pampena tells the “KDKA Morning News” the weather makes it hard to keep up with the potholes.

“With the water and the freeze-thaw, a lot of times we’ll go out and patch it and it will pop out the next day,” said Pampena

Pampena adds they have to wait to fix the holes properly.

“We have to wait actually until the producers are making a hot patch and we can get that hot material and get out there and cut the hole out properly, clean it out properly, pack it and then patch it so it’s a long lasting repair,” said Pampena.

That is the situation in most municipalities. The City of Pittsburgh has a new piece of equipment that heats the cold patch.

Pittsburgh Operations Chief Guy Costa says, “When the cold patch is heated up, its more flexible, and it’s better to use than straight cold patch.”

Friday, and all weekend, Costa says all Public Works crews will be on pothole duty. At this point, city officials are asking you not to call the 311 hotline with pothole complaints.

“We prefer not to at this point,” says Costa. “Our crews have documented where they are. We are going to follow our primary snow routes [Friday], and over the weekend.”

Your chance to report a tire-eating crater in Pittsburgh will come next week.

Costa says, “We’re going to pick a couple of days and ask people to call the 311 line and report their potholes. Then, we’re going to do a pothole blitz next week.”

Costa says the weekend rain will most likely cause more trouble on the roads.

“Come Monday, we’ll see more potholes and that’s why we’re going to do a major pothole blitz in the City of Pittsburgh where all crews will be working on potholes early next week,” said Costa.

Across the board, municipalities will address problems on the most heavily-traveled roads first, and work their way down the list.

Zang says the key is to get your strut cracker on the list by going to https://customercare.penndot.gov/, and filling in all the information. The more detailed you can be about the location, the better.

While PennDOT only patches potholes on state roads, if your issue is not on a state road, it will be forwarded to the correct municipality.

Of course, if the problem spot is on your local street, contact the Public Works office in your community.

Pothole patching will continue until the work is done, or the snow starts to fly again.

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