Pothole Season Wreaks Havoc on Vehicle Suspensions

Pothole Season Wreaks Havoc on Vehicle Suspensions

Shop owners are seeing an increase in suspension work as potholes caused by winter weather are damaging customers' vehicles. Bob Churchill, owner of Eurosport Service and Repair in Springfield, IL, is seeing an increase in tie rod and strut damage.

Shop owners are seeing an increase in suspension work as potholes caused by winter weather are damaging customers’ vehicles. Bob Churchill, owner of Eurosport Service and Repair in Springfield, IL, recently told a reporter from THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER that he is seeing an increase in tie rod and strut damage.

Below is the article as it appeared on THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER website.

Potholes Give Drivers That Sinking Feeling

FEB 22, 2010

If Daytona International Speedway can have a pothole problem severe enough to delay its biggest NASCAR race, then Springfield sure isn’t exempt.

“There are more than last year, and we all have noticed,” said Bill Burger, assistant highway engineer for Sangamon County. “All the water we had, then the freezing and thawing … It won’t matter how good your road is, you can find a problem with it.”

Brent Daily of Springfield certainly found a problem with Chatham Road at Wabash Avenue.

As he was driving northbound on Chatham Road Saturday evening, he entered the turn lane and turned right onto Wabash.

“I didn’t see the pothole because it was dark,” he said. “The whole car bottomed out, and I blew out both the front and rear driver’s side tires. The pothole was so large that it also threw off my car’s alignment and bent my front rim.”

Daily said he’s gone through 11 tires in the past two years, and all but two had to be replaced as a result of pothole damage.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that most of those potholes were in Chicago.

“They’re worse up there,” Daily said.

Pothole season
The season that usually follows Christmas and New Year’s is pothole season, and this year is no different.

“We’ve had eight to 12 crews out patching every day,” said Springfield public works director Mike Norris. “It’s about the same as last year.”

“Over the next couple of months, we’ll see an increase in the number of potholes. After that, hopefully we are on the road to recovery.”

The city council in May voted to increase the city’s sales tax by one-quarter of 1 percent, effective Jan. 1. The increase is expected to generate about $4.5 million a year and is being set aside to help fix Springfield’s streets.

Norris said Sixth Street from South Grand Avenue north to about Cook Street is slated for an overlay this spring.

With the sales tax, we may have $2.5 million to $3 million by late summer to get other streets done,” Norris said. “That’s the only thing that’s going to fix them.”

Adding to street woes are water main breaks and sewer cave-ins, which require digging up and replacing the street surface.

“It can be either one, but this time of year, 99 percent of them are water main breaks,” Norris said. “Sewer cave-ins come later in the spring.”

Sliding into curbs
Bob Churchill, owner of Eurosport Service and Repair, said he’s seeing a lot more tie rod and strut damage, which he says could be related to potholes.

“But as far as people complaining, we’re hearing a lot more about them sliding into curbs because of the ice,” he said. “We have had people come in who are concerned that their cars have been knocked out of alignment, although that’s usually not the case.

“I can’t even blame too many tire repairs on road conditions. But tire stores see more of it.”

The owner of Midtown Auto Service and Tires said it hasn’t been any worse than a normal winter for tire repairs.

“You always get more in the winter, but I couldn’t say there have been a lot,” said John Kuhlmann. “We’ve had mostly tires, some rims.”

Repeat offenders
The outside lanes of Peoria Road between Sangamon and Ridgley avenues are on just about everyone’s list of teeth-rattling road craters. The area got some attention from city crews earlier this week.

Tara Schuster of Springfield said in an e-mail that she cited the same area last year and finds it the same this winter.

“Both northbound and southbound outside lanes of Peoria between Sangamon Avenue and when it turns into Ninth Street are ridiculous,” she said. “It is, to a point, dangerous to even attempt to drive in these lanes.”

She said there was an attempt made to fix that stretch of roadway last year, too, “but it made no difference at all.”

Instead of the outside lanes, it’s the middle lane of Sixth Street between South Grand Avenue and the Springfield Clinic that concerns Mike Esper of Springfield.

“It’s not necessarily a pothole, but the entire lane is a wreck and an embarrassment to our city,” he said. “To me, if you’re coming into town from the south to go to the (Abraham Lincoln Presidential) library and museum, that’s what you’d have to drive on.”

The spring overlay project should correct that problem.

Julie Becker of Springfield said she’s not driving on Chatham Road anymore because of all the potholes.

“I feel like I am driving an obstacle course, dodging back and forth,” she said in an e-mail. “None of those places of businesses are going to get my money, and it’s not their fault.”

For now, city and county crews are looking to temporary solutions to the pothole problem.

“We’re putting cold patch on them, and that will last until the next freeze/thaw cycle,” said Burger. “We’re working on a patching program for more permanent hot patch later in the spring.”

To read the rest of this article, visit THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER website at http://www.sj-r.com/carousel/x531838883/Holiday-season-then-pothole-season-Springfield-no-exception.


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