Potholes and sinkholes causing issues post-Harvey

Friday, September 15, 2017
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The heavy rains from Harvey caused potholes and sinkholes to form throughout the Houston area.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The heavy rains from Harvey caused potholes and sinkholes to form throughout the Houston area, and now, they're causing a traffic nightmare for some drivers in our city.

So, what's the difference between a sinkhole and a pothole? Both are common when lots of rain falls.

TxDOT says a pothole forms when water finds a way through a void and loosens the asphalt or concrete pavement. A sinkhole occurs when water gets underneath the pavement, making the base weak and essentially giving way.

Potholes are more common than sinkholes, and even though the water is drying up, sometimes potholes can form later from heavy traffic on a road that was once saturated.

A large sinkhole that TxDOT crews worked on this week is the West Beltway-8 southbound feeder at Boheme. One lane has been blocked off as crews work to repair the sinkhole. The process at this corner takes three to four days to clear debris, clean the hole, fill it with dirt and gravel, frame it, and fill it with concrete and asphalt. The process should be finished tomorrow. TxDOT brought in crews from all over the state to help with freeway issues like this one and continue with inspections of our freeways.

Meanwhile, Public Works has fewer staff than usual since Harvey, but they're working extra-hard. They say there isn't one specific area in our city that's worse than another, though they consider a pothole any area of missing or severely deteriorated pavement that is up to about five feet by five feet.

One of the sinkholes causing traffic trouble is at Memorial approaching Eldridge. Traffic on Memorial is down to one lane heading westbound as drivers approach the intersection. This area is also dealing with some construction. As of this afternoon, that sinkhole was not yet repaired.

Public Works says since August 26th, they received 168 repair requests, which is about double what they received in the 21 days before Harvey. They also want to remind Houstonians to call 311 to report potholes, sinkholes, and flashing lights.

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