Portland drivers facing expensive headaches from winter-weather potholes


Anyone that has taken a drive recently has probably noticed the roads in the Portland area are speckled with potholes.

The Oregon Department of Transportation says the deep freezes this winter combined with the heavy February rain is a recipe for damaged roads.

In fact, ODOT says there’s easily thousands of new potholes they have to tackle. Until the potholes are fixed, though, they can be a big problem for drivers.

Driver David Gore has some sarcastic advice for other motorists dealing with these headaches on the road.

“When you see a pothole you should speed up, close your eyes, and then yell some obscenities out the window,” he joked to FOX 12.

Gore said he has earned the right to make such comments after driving on pothole-laden roads with bad shocks before finally paying a pretty penny.

“I just spent 600 on new shocks for the car,” he explained.

Gore’s experience is one many other drivers have shared as the large divots can be felt from busy downtown streets to the open highways as seemingly no asphalt was immune to the pothole damage after the recent winter storms.

“It felt like the axle was being ripped out of the chassis of the car every time you hit a bump, and it kind of rattled your teeth a little bit,” Gore said.

The impact on cars has kept the folks at Les Schwab busy, and staff members said the damage to cars can be expensive.

“We have definitely seen more pothole damage the last few weeks,” Cliff Pruner of Les Schwab Tire Centers said. “Worst case scenario, not only the tires and wheels but suspensions can be damaged at the same time.”

Pruner said there are signs to tell if a pothole did damage to a car. Drivers would feel a vibration traveling at higher speeds or see the steering wheel shake while driving. In some severe cases, a steering wheel would be off center.

For drivers that just are not sure if their car is damaged, Pruner offers this simple advice - when in doubt, get it checked out.

ODOT officials say their top priority right now is to patch potholes on freeways and busy highways like Interstate 5 and Highway 99W. They also note another big issue on the roads right now is all the leftover rocks and sand that was used for traction during the snow storms. They’re working on getting that cleaned up as well.

ODOT crews say they need some dry days in order to patch up the potholes, noting that the materials they use to fill them won’t stay in place if the potholes are full of water.

In meantime, they advise drivers to slow down and avoid the potholes, if possible, and to understand that it may be a while before they are in for a completely smooth ride.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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