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Pothole season starts early, which creates headaches for DOT crews and Nebraska drivers.

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska). The call came in to NDOT road crews sometime after 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. A hole has formed in a heavy-traffic overpass crossing I-80 in Sarpy County. A crew member mentioned that you can see right through the freeway below.

This is the life of the Nebraska Department of Transportation. They are responsible for the safety of highways, and when the weather changes from cold to warm to rain to cold again, this is a direct recipe for disaster.

“Rain seeps into the cracks, then goes below freezing, and everything breaks,” said Jim Laughlin, maintenance manager for NDOT Region 2.

City Works estimates that there are 55 million potholes in this country. The Omaha Mayor’s Hotline tracks all sorts of complaints from the public, including potholes. Nearly 9,000 potholes have been reported in Douglas County in the past 12 months. Abandoned cars, graffiti and trash problems were far away in the rearview mirror.

Omaha drivers felt it on Tuesday after the rain. I-80 westbound from downtown became pitted. The crews did what they could, pinpointing during rush hour, filling one hole with temporary mix.

“It can be extremely dangerous, which is why we encourage people to stay away from their phones when they are driving,” Laughlin said. “Our workers are there. They’re right on the line. They are inches from traffic.

NDOT is using new fill in places like this overpass, but as temperatures drop to 20 degrees, hardening slows down. That’s why the workers are waiting.

“There are four stores in the Omaha area, and they all usually close during the day, but at least during the week,” Laughlin said. “Now there’s a storm coming in and the crews that are here are getting their trucks ready for work and they’re filling in the potholes ahead of the storm.”

If it makes you feel better – according to QuoteWizard, things are worse in most states. Nebraska ranks 49th out of 50 states in terms of potholes.

Laughlin advises reporting these potholes to NDOT as soon as you can. For city and county roads, call the mayor’s hotline.

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