Law enforcement and road officials are warning Wilson County drivers to be aware of potholes following last week’s winter weather that blanketed Middle Tennessee with ice and snow.
Potholes form after snow or rain seeps into soil below road surfaces and the moisture freezes when temperatures drop, causing the ground to expand and push the pavement up. As temperatures rise, the ground returns to its normal level, which causes a gap between the road and the ground.
When vehicles drive over the created hole, the pavement cracks and creates a pothole.
Lebanon Police Sgt. PJ Hardy said the possibility of potholes is one reason crews may not attempt to clear some secondary roadways because they are created in a different way than most main roadways, which increases the chance of potholes.
“When you take a large metal object and scrape it across the pavement or whatever surface that exists, you have a tendency to create potholes. There are several throughout the city,” Hardy said.
Hardy said any city resident that notices a pothole should note its location and contact the Lebanon Street Department at (615) 444-0825 during normal business hours. Residents can also report potholes on the city’s website in the Concerns from Citizens section.
Anyone who sees a pothole in Mt. Juliet, Watertown and other parts of the county should contact the Wilson County Road Commission at (615) 444-9022.
Lebanon Public Works Director Jeff Baines said the city would patch potholes on city and state roads within city limits.
“If we determine the repair on the state road exceeds ‘pothole’ status, we will contact the TDOT folks,” Baines said.
Baines said as the city’s street crew makes it brush route, it would make notes of potholes in the city.
“Any pothole that appears to be a safety hazard will get immediate attention. Otherwise, we expect to begin addressing potholes middle of this week,” he said.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation officials said the department is preparing for pothole patching on state roadways, including interstates. Officials said crews would use a cold mix to make temporary repairs until asphalt plats open regularly in the spring.
Drivers can also report potholes to the department using the TDOT online maintenance request form at tn.gov/tdot.
TDOT reported the use of about 27,500 tons of salt and logged more than 170,000 miles clearing and treating roadways in Middle Tennessee following last week’s winter storm.
An estimated 2 to 3 inches of combined sleet and snow, along with frigid temperatures that entered the area in the days prior to the storm, blanketed Wilson County and Middle Tennessee, which resulted in hazardous travel conditions and the loss of power in some areas.
A second winter storm in the latter portion of the week brought the most widespread, heavy snowfall Middle Tennessee had seen in five years, according to the National Weather Service Nashville office. An estimated 3 to 4 inches of snow fell between Wednesday and Thursday, according to the office.
The winter storm fell during a 7-day stretch of freezing temperatures in the Nashville region, which ranked as the fifth-longest period of below freezing temperatures in the area, and only two days short of the record.
“We are all aware of the snow from this past week and that it was a little more than we anticipated. However, we were fortunate that it was not more than our city crews could handle,” Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell said. “A big shout out of gratitude to our Public Works Department, led by Jeff Baines, our Street Department division, led by Lee Clark, our Lebanon Police Department, led by (Chief Mike Justice) and our Lebanon Fire Department, led by (Chief Chris Dowell). Together, our departments acted as a team and were able to keep the roads clear for emergency use.”
The winter storm closed county and city offices throughout Wilson County for most of the week, which caused rescheduling of soe local government meetings.
Wilson County Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning Commission meetings have been rescheduled to March 4 and March 5, respectively.
The Mt. Juliet Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for Feb. 25. The Mt. Juliet Senior Center Indoor Yard Sale was cancelled and possibly rescheduled for March.
The Watertown Planning Commission and City Council meetings were cancelled and will be rescheduled.