KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Highway officials are warning drivers to be on lookout for potholes and road damage after recent snow and freezing temperatures wrought havoc on road surfaces.
Some potholes in Knox County were large enough for a tire to fit inside. It's causing frustration for many drivers.
Robert Lockett, who lives in Knoxville, says he's noticed a difference in the streets since the storms last week.
"I see potholes everywhere. I've got to duck and dodge ‘em everywhere you go," said Lockett.
He's worried that if not fixed soon, the potholes will eventually leave him stranded.
"Got to swerve left and right, got to duck ‘em and I've got my kids with me. Sometimes you can get a flat. Anything and I'd be stuck out there with my kids," said Lockett.
Knoxville and Knox County Public Works crews, along with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, will be out in full force this week trying to fill all the potholes.
The project could take weeks and some lanes may be blocked for a short period of time. It takes about 30 minutes for the three-man crew to fill a pothole.
"We have six pothole-patching trucks and we can also use cold patches if we need to, so they will all be out all week. They'll probably take several weeks," said Knoxville Public Service Deputy Director Chad Weth.
Weth says since the storms, they will have at least 40 new reports of potholes. The reason for the influx is the weather.
"You've got the snow and the rain and the cold weather. The concrete asphalt can expand and contract and that opens up potholes," said Weth.
The city will use asphalt for a more permanent fix, but if the temperatures are freezing the asphalt won't be made. If that happens, the city will be forced to use a temporary seal called cold patch and do another more permanent report in the spring.
Lockett hopes the repairs are made soon to avoid damaging his car.
"Yeah that's the only car I got and it gets damaged with a pothole. I don't have any money to fix it, so they need to fix it," said Weth.
Butch Inman, the owner of Dott Baker Insurance Agency, says policy owners are covered if they have collision coverage and their car receives damage from a pothole. But he says they will have to pay the deductible.
"It is considered an at-fault accident, which you will be charged for. Hitting a pothole is considered not maintaining control of your vehicle. Even though the pothole was right there in the middle of the road, you should be going at a safe speed enough to see the pothole coming up on you," said Inman.
To report a pothole in Knoxville call 3-1-1. In Knox County, call 865-215-5800. You can also contact T-DOT.