The Spring 2014 pothole epidemic is being felt in the mid-South, including Memphis, Tennessee where station WHBQ-TV/Fox 13 brought on Pothole.info reporter Russ Klettke to provide a national perspective on what Memphesians are experiencing – the worst pothole season in recent memory.
As seen in the clip, aired May 1, 2014, anchorDarrell Greene takes a keen interest in the city’s current state of road affairs, specifically the potholes. Greene led into the story by explaining that the city – which in a typical year experiences 32 freeze-thaw cycles –is trying to deal with the greater degree of pavement degradation this season.
Klettke explained that 54% of major highways and roads as evaluated by AASHTO are in “poor” to “mediocre” condition already. And that while road building techniques and materials have improved in recent years, a majority of roads were built in the 1950s through the 1970s and are vulnerable to cracks and chuckholes as a result.
The bottom-of-the-screen chyron explained that Memphis has fixed 35,000 potholes since January. When Greene asked if this season’s conditions were a wake up call on the need to prioritize road maintenance, Klettke responded, “Let me give you a number to wake up to. If you put off a dollar’s worth of maintenance today, in five years it’s going to cost you seven dollars to fix that same problem.”
On a sobering note, Klettke related the story of a catastrophic bus crash in Jefferson County, Tennessee in October 2013, where eight individuals were killed in three vehicles when a church bus had a tire blowout. Forensic evidence identified the cause as likely a pothole or road debris, which the bus likely hit miles before the accident. Radial tires can be compromised by significant road bumps, but failmany miles later – at a point when the vehicle may be traveling at a higher rate of speed.
Greene credited Pothole.info for providing news and analysis on potholes for five years running.