City crews to repair rain-damaged streets

HARLINGEN — Basketball-sized potholes are opening along the city’s rain-pelted streets.

Days of heavy rains and flooding are tearing up streets, creating cracks around manholes and opening potholes big enough to damage passing cars.

“It’s breaking up the streets,” Celina Gonzalez, the city’s public works director, said yesterday. “This isn’t a regular rain.”

Meanwhile, area cities were preparing to spray for mosquitoes expected to spawn after the storm.

For about four days, as much as 16 inches of rain has bombarded the city’s streets, flooding many low-lying areas of the Valley.

Now, officials are trying to determine the extent of the damage, Gonzalez said.

“Our crews are going street by street to see if there are any that need to be fixed,” city spokeswoman Irma Garza stated. “All potholes identified during a storm are blocked off so cars won’t go over them.”

Along streets such as Buchanan Avenue, orange construction cones stand around cracking manholes to prevent cars from hitting them.

Heavy rains have caused the streets to absorb water, breaking up the asphalt’s rock foundation, Gonzalez said.

Now, city crews are preparing to repair the damage.

First, crews plan to lay millings, or recycled asphalt, atop potholes to prevent damage to passing vehicles.

“We’re putting down millings so people won’t hit (potholes) and ruin their car,” Gonzalez said.

Yesterday, crews laid millings around 18 potholes, mostly along Commerce Street and Fair Park Boulevard, Garza stated.

When the rains die down, crews will apply hot-mix, an aggregate mixed and coated with asphalt cement, to the potholes.

“Once the street is dry, crews will go in and apply hot-mix, which is a more permanent fix,” Garza stated.

Other cities have problems

In San Benito, City Manager Manuel De La Rosa was waiting for rains to stop before assigning crews to repair the damaged streets.

“The city’s public works crews will resume their regular duties in maintaining city roads and other public infrastructure after this storm event has cleared from this area,” De La Rosa stated yesterday.

Meanwhile, rains are expected to spawn a mosquito outbreak.

“The city is preparing itself for mosquito spraying as (mosquitoes) will likely become a health concern as soon as these storms clear out,” De La Rosa stated.