MASON CITY, Iowa - No matter what street you drive on, you'll more than likely encounter a few potholes starting to form or already exist, and you may be trying to dodge them.
And if you hit them hard enough, it means a flat tire, a bent rim or even an obliterated exhaust system. Take it from Phillip Flinchum, who's had some harrowing pothole encounters, including one small crater that blasted his brakes.
"I was coming down this mountain, and one guy was with me and yelling and screaming for his life."
Fortunately, his emergency brake worked. Lately, he feels the number of potholes is on the rise.
"Worse this year. In every city I go to, every one of them."
Bill Stangler with the City of Mason City says the Street Department is doing the best they can, including the use of a coal mix as a temporary fix.
"The emulsion has to be at a higher temperature, and with the weather dropping as much as it is now, when it gets down to the 30s, it's hard to keep the emulsion heated up, so we need to do this to temporarily to buy us some time until we get the permanent patching machine out."
And residents are encouraged to report any potholes encountered, whether they be caverns or pockmarks.
"We tend take sections of town and go through and try to catch all the streets in that section of town. Just because we didn't get all the potholes in one area, that doesn't mean we won't be back. It's that we've been called away for something that may be worse.
"We'll get there in a timely manner as much we can. It may not happen on the day you report it, but there's a lot of areas to cover, and a limited amount of resources to do it, so we'll get there as quick as we can."
Flinchum has a strategy he'd like to employ to help city crews.
"I feel like buying a pickup truck, just put a bunch of sand on it, and just do it myself."
Stangler adds that if there is vehicle damage related to a pothole, drivers can file a justifiable claim with the City Clerk's office at City Hall. From there, it depends on the city's insurance policy to see if the driver is covered.
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- Road closure starts Tuesday in Mason City
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- Street department to start pothole work in the next few days
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