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Potholes, construction keeping highway workers busy


WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  Pothole season is definitely here. You’ve probably noticed road crews filling holes in the pavement.

Dan Raczkowski is the Operations Superintendent for the Marathon County Highway Department. He says it’s been dry lately, and that’s been good news for highway repair crews. “Right now, things are looking better because the moisture has kind of dried up a bit. That’s what helps us the most. If we start getting a lot of rain, you’ll probably start seeing potholes again.”

Raczkowski says last spring was mild, and this spring’s pothole season was cooler, wetter, and longer. “Last year, spring came early. The season was shorter. It dried up faster, so it kind of took the curse out of things. This year, it was a longer season, so we put down a lot more patch material than last spring.”

He says the frost gets deep in Wisconsin, and it affects every road no matter how well built it is.

County highway departments only take care of state and county highways. Cities, townships, and villages are responsible for the roads within their municipal boundaries. Raczkowski says significantly large potholes should be reported to your local highway department or municipality.

Construction season is also starting. Raczkowski says by the end of month, you’ll see county crews out working on roads. He urges drivers to slow down and pay attention as you go through any work zone. “You’re going to see us out on construction projects, and no matter if it’s highway department people or other construction workers, please be cognizant of these guys out there working, these ladies and gentlemen. It’s a dangerous job. Put down the cellphone and concentrate on what you’re doing. Driving a vehicle is usually enough for most of us to handle. We don’t need to be talking on the cellphone, too.”

Raczkowski says the barrels, cones, and even the temporary concrete barrier walls are only designed to guide traffic through the work zone. They cannot stop a vehicle from entering the work zone and potentially injuring or killing a worker.