Potholes popping up as snow melts


MISSOULA, Mont. - The melting snow around the Missoula area is revealing potholes, creating pricey problems for drivers. Crews are working as fast as they can to patch up problem areas in Missoula, in between fixing plugged storm drains and responding to reports of standing water.

Potholes are formed after snow and ice melts, and water sinks through cracks in asphalt. The water freezes and expands, creating risen asphalt. The risen sections are then broken down by passing vehicles.

The potholes are sending customers with damaged cars to local tire repair shops. NBC Montana stopped by Big Sky Tire and Service in Missoula Friday.

"Quite a bit [of business] this time of the year, any time we get a big snow there's a lot of potholes and a lot of broken wheels," said Big Sky Tire owner Todd Pressler.

Pressler explained how potholes can break wheels, damage tire sidewalls, knock out alignments and sometimes break suspension parts.

"[This has been] probably one of the worst winters, this time of year, that we've seen in probably four years," said Pressler.

Pressler's business was a packed house on Friday with customers who had been dealing with potholes out on the roads.

"It totally ruined the tire and it needs replacement, which is expensive, so I'm not too happy about it," said Missoula resident Kate Bullock.

"It was like a huge crash. It dented our rim and totally took out the tire," said Ronan resident Clark Dibble.

Missoula residents can report potholes by calling 552-6360 or by visiting and clicking on "At Your Service."

City officials say crews make every attempt to repair potholes within 24 hours of reports. Staff members are working the phone line from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Residents can also use the number to report standing water and blocked storm drains.