Pothole Patching Season is Here

Travel Advisory

April 8, 2021 - Statewide News - Watch for Potholes and Daytime Lane Closures

DENVER – The early spring freeze-thaw cycle is underway, and along with it, the potholes that develop on roadways as temperatures fluctuate between warm and cold. 

For the next several weeks, drivers should be prepared for moving, single lane closures, along with possible delays, while potholes are being repaired. The Colorado Department of Transportation is urging 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. While lane closures are generally limited to night-time hours, pothole repairs may occur during the day to prevent further deterioration and damage to the roadway.

"Patching potholes is an essential part of the work we do to maintain our system so it's safe and reliable for the traveling public," said Executive Director Shoshana Lew. "In addition to plowing snow and keeping the road clear in the winter, our maintenance team plays a key role in making these critical repairs to roads across the state.  Please respect their work zones and keep them safe on the job." 

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. 

“If a driver sees or hits a pothole on a state highway, they should report it to one of our customer service representative so repairs can be scheduled,” said CDOT Division of Maintenance and Operations Director John Lorme. “I do want to remind people that CDOT only maintains state roadways so please make sure that when you’re reporting a pothole, that it falls under our jurisdiction. Cities and counties generally are responsible for repairing non-state roadways.” 

To report a pothole, please call one of the following CDOT Customer Service Hotline Numbers:

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

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. 

General Pothole Information

  • 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 between 10 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.

Remember: Slow for the Cone 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!

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.