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Heavy weekend rain leads to pothole problems throughout the DMV

AAA Mid-Atlantic said in just the first 11 days of February, there’s already a 25 percent increase in the number of flat tires reported in the DMV, compared to the same time last year. (ABC7)

Road crews across the DMV are outnumbered compared to the of potholes that sprung up after the weekend rain.

“These are the worst conditions we’ve seen in years,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson John Townsend said.

AAA Mid-Atlantic said in just the first 11 days of February, there’s already a 25 percent increase in the number of flat tires reported in the DMV, compared to the same time last year.

The weather is a big contributor.

“When it was really, really cold a few weeks ago to where it was almost in the mid-60s yesterday, Sunday, you’re going to get that freeze-thaw cycle. And with the heavy water on top, it just exasperated the problem,” Maryland State Highway Administration Charlie Gischlar said.

MDSHA crews rely on drivers reporting the potholes they see. They try to repair the road in a business day. Gischlar said they will try to stick to that timeline, but be patient because there is a lot of damage that needs fixing.

Arlington road crews tried to fill as many as possible Monday. One worker said this weekend’s water expanded the cracks already in the road.

The Maryland State Highway Administration says it costs them about $75 per pothole repair including materials and labor. In fiscal year 2017, the MDSHA poured $2.6 million into the problem.

It hits drivers’ pocketbooks too.

“Over the span of the last five years, we’ve spent $15 billion to repair our vehicles that have been damaged by potholes,” Townsend said.

AAA estimates drivers paid an average of $300 to repair pothole-related damage last year alone. Townsend said drivers don’t have to foot the bill themselves.

If you drive through a pothole and your car is damaged, save the repair receipt," he said. "You will have to find who is in charge of the damaged road you drove on, prove the damage done was from that pothole and the road rut has to have been reported previously.

“Then if the city or the local or the state government knew about it and didn’t repair it in time, then they are responsible for reimbursing you,” Townsend said.

AAA Mid-Atlantic said it can take months to get your money back, but stay persistent.

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