Blog > Traffic > INDY! POTHOLES! Please Stop!

INDY! POTHOLES! Please Stop!

It could be a while...

(Photo Credit: Hobart Police Department - @YorkTownHistory)

In Hobart, Indiana, crews had to remove a car from a monsterous sinkhole at 9th and Lincoln Streets. Oddly, the driver was later found in Indianapolis climbing out of a giant pothole on Keystone Ave.

Long wait from winter to spring? HA! What about pothole season? Groundhog said nothing about that. Groundhog doesn’t know anything except how to live in a tree and eat his poop. I say kidnap the groundhog and make him change tires on 38th St. He’ll see things more devilish than his shadow.


I thought we were done with potholes, but I’m also very naive. After the latest cold, warm, freeze, thaw, lung collapsing weather pattern, potholes new and old ripped up on all of our beloved commuter routes. Here's an analogy: we aren't back to square one on potholes, but it sucks.

(I'll work on it)

Earlier this week, I floated a report that 52nd St. from College to Keystone was going to be strip patched, and mercy did @WIBCTraffic explode. The Broad Ripple contingent treated the news as a national holiday:




There were a ton of tweets just like those, and not just from locals in the neighborhood. It looks like 52nd St. got a piece of Indy commuters from all over.




Things seem to be improving in some parts of the city, but there's still a good amount of patching ahead of us. Betsy Whitmore of Indy's Department of Public Works (DPW) - the arm of the city that's responsible for filling potholes - says crews worked ten hour shifts this week, leading us to safely guess that another week of long days is incoming. 

The elephant in the room? Come on, WHEN DOES IT ALL END?


The weather needs to give it a rest so we can finally put this awful pothole season to bed. I’m neither a civil engineer or a meteorologist (really, it's true), but I know potholes form by combining temperature swings, extreme freezing and thawing, and moisture - like rain (not snow). And lordy, we’ve had that in spades the past few months - especially in January and February.

I talked with Kevin Gregory - longtime meteorologist at RTV6 and overall great guy - about these weather patterns that dragged us down to the seventh circle of pothole hell:

I was looking at this winter in a way that would aggravate the potholes, and it was really a pretty incredible stretch:  January and February - If you look at our warmest temperature this winter - it was 77 (degrees) in February, and we went to as cold as 12 below in January. So that’s an 80 something temperature swing.

There you have it - huge temperature swings plus extreme cycles of freezing and thawing. Take a look at how crazy January was, according to Kevin:

Then you look at January - first part of the month - we were below zero five out of the first six mornings, and the (high) never hit 20. And then, just five days later, highs were in the 50s for two days. And then, a week later than that, we were below zero again with highs below 20. And then, we’re back in the fifties to end the month.

No wonder we were all hacking, sneezing, regurgitating, and missing huge chunks of work during the first part of 2018.

So we had temperature swings, freezing, and thawing. All we need now is moisture, right Kevin?

I think you had incredible swings, plus less snow at that time and more rain - so there was more moisture to go and seep into those cracks and into those roads and into the ground. Then that freezes, and expands quickly - and that was just chewing up those roads.

And we went through that cycle for eight, nine, ten weeks. Victory for mother nature. The highs were really high, and the lows were really low. I mean, 12 below is a very cold temperature in Indy, (and) seven times in the month of January temperatures were below zero.

And what did we get out of this? The worst pothole season in the history of Indianapolis. Three cheers for our city of firsts!


Not quite.

This weekend and early next week will give us more freezing, thawing, and rain, says Kevin:

Here we are, well into the 70s. Then sunday night, we may see a rain snow mix. Temperature drop to freezing or a little below - so there’s the freeze/thaw cycle. And then we’re below freezing Monday night, Tuesday’s high in the 50s.

And according to the National Weather Service, we could get a decent amount of rain through Monday morning, so don’t be surprised if crews are out filling potholes and strip patching for another couple of weeks.

After that?

The days are numbered for creating new potholes or making existing ones worse. We’re going to declare victory. Hopefully it goes down as the worst, and it only gets better from there.

I’ll take that.


DPW will be filling potholes into next week, and possibly the week after next. If you check out the map below, you can see what's done and what's still to come. Of course the work orders could change, and likely will.

***Remember to be respectful of the construction zones, and give workers plenty of room when heading through - just like on the interstates and highways***

I provided a quick breakdown just below the map:


STRIP PATCHING (Construction zones, including lane closures):

North Side

Westfield Blvd: White River - 86th St.

38th St: Keystone Ave.

E. 56th St: Allisonville Rd. - Fall Creek Rd./Emerson Way.

71st: Georgetown Rd. - Guion Rd.

86th St: Hague Rd. - Sargent Rd.


Fall Creek Pkwy N: 38th St. - Keystone Ave.

52nd St: College Ave. - Keystone Ave.

South Side

Madison Ave: Morris St. - Troy Ave.

East Side

16th St: Sherman Dr. - Emerson Ave.

21st St: Mitthoefer Rd. - Post Rd.

West Side

10th St: White River Pkwy W. Dr. - Holt Rd.

16th St: W. Kessler Blvd. N. Dr. - Olin Ave.

38th St: I-465 - Dandy Trail

Dandy Trail - Crawfordsville Rd. - I-74


RESURFACING (full on paving project. Contruction zones and lane restrictions):

U.S. 31/East St: I-465 - Hanna Ave.



Allisonville Rd: 62nd St - 96th St.

Shelbyville Rd: McFarland Rd. - S. Franklin Rd.

Southport Rd: Mann Rd. - Bluff Rd.

Thompson Rd: Emerson Ave. - County Line Rd.

30th St: Moller Rd. - Delaware St.

38th St: College Ave. - County Line Rd.

71st/73rd/Westlane Rd: I-65 - College Ave.

Betsy also said DPW will patch "until the job is done," and while understanding our frustrations with current road conditions and massive delays (Fall Creek, anyone?), reminded me that "when the cones are gone, it'll be a much smoother ride. 

Good to know.

By the way, we're STILL waiting on the closure dates for I-65 heading into downtown. It was March, then April, then who knows. We'll be the first to get 'em to you.

Thank you for another great week, and thank you for the conversation @WIBCTraffic. Be safe this weekend.


Matt Bair filled a pothole with last night's leftovers. It was ineffective. He's the new voice of Indianapolis traffic, and can be followed on Twitter @WIBCTraffic..Tips? Call direct at (317) 684-8134 or the 93 WIBC Newsroom at (317) 637-6397


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