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Departments » Public Works » Street Maintenance
Drivers Encouraged to Report Potholes to Public Works

Potholes are formed when snow and ice melt as part of Wisconsin's seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Water seeps beneath the pavement through cracks that have formed over time. As temperatures drop to below freezing, water becomes ice and expands below the roadway surface, forcing the pavement to rise. Continued traffic over the raised portion of roadway and above-freezing temperatures that thaw the formed ice creates a void. The asphalt over the void breaks away, revealing a pothole.

The extreme cold this winter has caused the frost to go much deeper than usual and many roadways are already in rough shape due to significant heaving and deteriorating pavement. Salt application to roadways exacerbates the freeze/thaw action in cracks in the pavement. The unusual number of winter events this season, including two freezing rain events, has increased the number of times we have applied salt.

During the winter, temporary "cold" asphalt patching is performed to fill potholes. A permanent "hot" asphalt patch can be applied during the spring and summer months.

The City of Appleton is encouraging drivers to report potholes. If you wish to report a pothole, please contact us at 832-5580. Please make sure to have as much detail as possible regarding the location, condition and size of the pothole.

Thanks for helping the City of Appleton be a great place to live, work and play!


Source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Like other materials, asphalt hardens, weakens and shrinks under the effect of cold. Water from surface snow melt and melting ice lenses inside the pavement ends up in the thawed soil layer. This water is then trapped in the soil because of the frozen layer below it, which is impervious. Ice lenses can lift pavement up to 20 centimeters.

Contact:  Department of Public Works - Operations
Phone: (920) 832-5580
Fax: (920) 832-5570
Click here to email
Mailing Address:  City of Appleton
Department of Public Works - Operations
2625 East Glendale Ave.
Appleton, Wisconsin 54911
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