Warmer Weather = Crews patching Potholes

News Release

February 27, 2020 - Denver Metro Area, Colorado - Be extra vigilant for potholes and emergency lane closures for pavement repairs

With drastic changes in temperatures and winter conditions come a freeze thaw cycle that cause potholes to develop quickly on roadways across the state.  Once potholes develop on heavily traveled state roadways, the Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor crews set up emergency lane closures to fill the potholes.  While lane closures on major roadways are generally limited to night-time hours, pothole repairs may occur during the day for safety reasons.

Drivers should be prepared for moving, single lane closures, along with possible delays, while potholes are being repaired during warmer weather in winter.  CDOT urges motorists to slow down when approaching these work zones for the safety of everyone involved, especially crew members who are working to repair the pavement.  

CDOT recommends that if you cannot avoid a pothole, please reduce your speed and check your rear or side-view mirrors before swerving or braking abruptly.  Hitting a pothole at higher speeds greatly increases the chance of damaging tires, wheels and suspension components.  Also, puddles require extra caution since they can disguise a deep hole. 

Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of ground water under the pavement.  When the water freezes, it fills more space under the pavement, which then expands, bends and cracks, weakening the road surface.  When the ice melts, the pavement contracts, leaving gaps or voids underneath the surface.  This continuous “freeze – thaw” cycle weakens the pavement and allows it to continue cracking.  As the weight of vehicles pass over the weakened pavement, it causes it to break and creates a pothole. 

If a driver sees or hits a pothole on a state highway, they should contact CDOT so it can get repaired. 

To report a pothole, CDOT has a customer service hotline number for each area of the state:

Metropolitan Denver – Region One: 303.759.2368

Southeastern Colorado – Region Two: 719.562.5568

Northwestern Colorado – Region Three: 970.243.2368

Northeastern Colorado – Region Four: 970.350.2368

Southwestern Colorado – Region Five: 970.385.1423


  •  Average cost: $60 per square yard, depending on hole depth and width
  •  Crew size: Operational safety requires three people minimum (two actively repairing pothole, one managing attenuator truck behind crew.  An attenuator truck is designed to meet all work zone safety requirements by absorbing the impact of a high (or low) speed crash and, in turn, saving workers’ lives.
  •  Repair time: Varies between10 and 30 minutes, depending on hole depth and width.
  •  Traffic impact: Full-lane closure required, per CDOT protocol, on any travel lane requiring the stopping or exiting of vehicles.

Driving through a Work Zone?

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  •      Do not speed in work zones; obey the posted speed limits.
  •      Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  •      Watch for workers; drive with caution.
  •      Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  •      Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  •      Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  •      Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  •      Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  •      Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  •      Anticipate lane shifts, and merge when directed to do so.
  •      Be Patient!



CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located at its Denver headquarters and in regional offices throughout Colorado and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated interregional express service. Gov. Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.



In early 2019, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. This initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment, and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.