According to officials, a side effect of the extreme winter weather coupled with the warm spring temperatures have damaged roadways and created those dreaded potholes.
A winter of heavy snow or rain and several freeze-thaw cycles can mean a big pothole season ahead, according to officials.
"This is the first winter in more years than I can remember, that we've not had an extended dry spell that would allow the ground to dry out," Clay County Assistant Highway Supervisor Larry Dierdorff told The Brazil Times Tuesday afternoon.
Dierdorff said when moisture seeps into the pavement of roadways, freezes, expands and then thaws, pavement is weakened because of a leftover air pocket. Traffic on the road loosens the pavement even more, causing portions of the damaged pavement to ultimately pop out.
"Potholes are a big problem," Dierdorff said. "We've got every piece of equipment out working to repair (the approximately 700 miles of) county roads."
Brazil City Street Supervisor Mike Head said his department members are also out working to repair the more than 50 miles of city streets.
"We've got workers out all over town trying to repair various types of road damage," Head said about road and alley repairs throughout the city.
With so many miles of roads to cover in their respective territories, both men agree it can be difficult to keep up with damaged areas.
"In a week's time, we try to travel every road in the county to check on damage, but for a range of reasons that doesn't always happen," Dierdorff said, adding the department is grateful when local residents report severe pothole damage in their area. "We put their information on a list and try to get to it as quickly as possible. We do have roads where there are people who have health problems and need to get out, but we don't know them all."
Dierdorff said Clay County residents could contact the county highway garage at 835-2091 during normal business hours to report road damage. The department will need the correct address of the location of the pothole and the severity of the damage.
Brazil residents may join the city's Pothole Patrol program to report dangerous road hazards caused by potholes.
City residents may contact the street department at 448-8501 during normal business hours or use the Pothole Patrol electronic form available through the Public Works portion of the Brazil City Web site located at www.brazil.in.gov.
"Motorists need to slow down so they can dodge potholes," Dierdorf said. "Potholes are everywhere and not always easy to see."