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Potholes pop up all over Flathead Co.

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KALISPELL, Mont - After a winter of deep cold and heavy snow Flathead County residents are dodging more potholes than ever.

"The potholes are worse this year than they've ever been," says Kalispell resident Joe Urban. "Especially down at Third and Center."

No one understands more than Public Works director Dave Prunty. For the first time in three years he's been forced to get extra cold mix to deal with the road breakup.

Prunty says, "At least two, sometimes three or four pothole crews (are) out going around the county trying to get them filled in."

AAA says drivers are paying the price. In a national report they say potholes have caused over $15 billion in damages during the last five years. The damage shows up on bent wheels, broken suspensions, misalignment and even engine damage.

The bills will hit your wallet. The average pothole damage will run you just under $300. Mechanics we spoke with said this is one of the busiest times of year.

"This time of year is great for business and automotive repair," says Aaron Insley. "Here at the shop we love to see spring, it's a good time of year for us."

AAA says the same advice that keeps you on the road will keep your car out of the shop.

Check your tire pressure and tread wear. Maintain a safe distance when following another vehicle. Slow down and avoid road hazards, especially when driving through puddles and pooled water.

State Rep. Dave Fern (D-Whitefish) has a proposal to help pay for road repairs. He's asking the legislature of approve HB 577. The bill would give cities the option of a local sales tax to pay for infrastructure.

If it passes Kalispell city leaders will take a serious look. City Manager Doug Russell estimates a local option sales tax on luxury items in Kalispell would raise as much as $6.5 million. The money would fill a lot of holes.?

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