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Sunday, November 28, 2021

With June 21 marking the beginning of summer, residents are running into a lot more than traffic as Gainesville’s streets crumble in the heat.

The crater-like cavities of automotive annihilation we call potholes have made their way onto the streets of Gainesville, leaving motorists like Justin Green $259.56 poorer.

Green, a Gainesville resident, fell victim to the roadway ruts when jagged asphalt teeth sunk into one of his 2017 Toyota Camry’s tires.

“It’s honestly like playing ‘Mario Kart’ out here,” Green said. “It’s either you hit a pothole or swerve out of control to avoid it.”

The Gainesville Public Works Department has been working to patch up the reported potholes as they continue to spread like the cracks on an alligator’s back, said Chip Skinner, a Public Works information officer.

“They’re pretty much the s--- holes left by the rain for us,” Green said.

Potholes are created when rain seeps into asphalt cracks, Skinner said. Over time, heavily trafficked roads develop weak spots and collapse.

In colder climates, frozen water that has thawed can cause the asphalt to raise. Skinner said Gainesville is lucky not to have freezing temperatures, or the potholes would be worse.

However, the rainy weather presents a different problem: When potholes fill with water, they are difficult to see.

Limestone is used to temporarily fix potholes but can be eroded throughout the day by vehicle traffic, Skinner said. If reported promptly, road agencies can take as few as four hours to patch holes with asphalt.

Skinner said people should report potholes using the Gainesville Public Works Department website or by calling 352-334-5070.

Communication is important when dealing with potholes, said Skinner. If the right agency isn’t notified, the holes will continue surfacing.

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