CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For Kanawha Valley residents bouncing their teeth-jarring way across local streets and roads, get used to it. The potholes caused by the unusually harsh winter will be there until spring.
"If [the potholes] are really bad we can do some patching," said state Department of Highways spokeswoman Carrie Bly. "But with the snow, we have to wait until the road is clear, and it could just get worse.
"We can patch, but then it snows again and our snowplows come through."
When water gets into cracks in roadways and freezes, it expands, making the cracks a little bigger. Aggravated by a series of freezes and thaws, road salt and the rumbling of plows and other heavy equipment, it doesn't take long for little cracks to turn into big potholes.
"We've got some pretty bad ones out there," said Charleston Public Works Director Gary Taylor. "We're going to work on them once the weather clears up and we can get out."
St. Albans Mayor Dick Callaway said there are about 70 miles of streets and roadway inside St. Albans city limits. About 50 of them are the city's responsibility, with the other 20 falling to the state to maintain.
Callaway said there are relatively few pothole problems on streets maintained by the city. But many of the major thoroughfares through town -- the ones that get the heaviest traffic -- are on state rights-of-way.
Callaway said most of the potholes in St. Albans are on heavily-traveled U.S. 60, Kanawha Terrace and Pennsylvania Avenue, all roadways that the state maintains.
Pennsylvania Avenue is scheduled to be completely repaved in the spring, but with construction going on along the road to install new water pipes, Callaway said it doesn't make sense to do a lot of road patching that will just have to be torn up anyway.