Warmer weather means pothole patching season - WSMV News 4

Warmer weather means pothole patching season

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Warmer weather means the pothole patching crews will be hitting the streets, and it's not a moment too soon for many drivers. Tennessee's rough roads are costing millions of dollars in car repairs and paving projects.

"Had to get the wheel straightened and put a new tire on it, which cost me about $175," said Mark Lewis, a mechanic at Mark's Automotive.

Lewis is not alone in his pothole problems. A new national report says Tennessee drivers are spending more than $800 million a year to repair pothole damage.

"You could break ball joints, tire rod ends, control arms. In one extreme case, I've actually seem where the framing actually cracked on it," Lewis said.

An estimated 40 percent of Tennessee's roads are in need of repair, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation plans to spend $200 million on several projects, including new pavement at Bell Road near Blue Hole Road.

Thousands of cars and big trucks driving the roads each day just weakens rough spots. And while Interstate 440 is not included on TDOT's three-year improvement plan, crews will make small patches along the interstate each day while they are needed.

"Tennessee, in particular, has problems with potholes, because of the harsh winters and the extreme weather. We have a lot of rain this time of year," said TDOT spokeswoman Deanna Lambert.

TDOT has no debt and does not intend to borrow money for these road repairs, but budgeting could be a concern in the future.

"We fund projects based on the gallons of gas people buy. And with the creation of smart electric cars, and things like that, less money is coming in," Lambert said.

If there is any consolation, Tennessee drivers still pay only about half of what drivers in neighboring states pay in car repairs.

Drivers who believe a pothole is responsible for damage to their car can contact the state to file a claim and possibly get reimbursed for repair costs. For more information, visit: http://treasury.tn.gov/claims/index.html.

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