MONUMENT, Colo. (KRDO) -- A large pothole that was a concern for the Colorado Department of Transportation last Saturday was finally repaired at the start of this weekend to prevent additional traffic congestion.
A CDOT emergency crew worked from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Friday to fill the pothole in the southbound right lane of Interstate 25, just south of Monument Hill, at the southern end of the Gap widening project.
Traffic was restricted to one lane in that area, which caused long backups during the time period. The situation also increased congestion on County Line Road as drivers sought detours.
Last Saturday afternoon, CDOT spent 45 minutes on the same pothole, filling it so that it wouldn't snarl traffic headed to the NHL hockey game at Falcon Stadium on the Air Force Academy campus.
"What happened was we used cold asphalt mix on that pothole," said Larry Quirk, Gap project engineer. "That allowed us to get it repaired sooner and minimize traffic disruption, but it's only a temporary fix. With the freeze-thaw weather and the heavy traffic, it popped open again."
Quirk said workers returned Friday with hot asphalt mix, which produces a longer-lasting repair but takes more time to finish.
"It's hard to get hot mix at this time of the year and you have to pay more for it," he said. "We try to do some of this work at night, but it's not always possible -- and you can't always get hot mix at night. These potholes can open up suddenly, and it takes time to close lanes and get a crew in. Each situation dictates how we respond."
Quirk said workers also repaired a bigger area around the pothole.
"We've got challenges with how that section of the road is deteriorating," he said. "We'll have to go back there later and do more work. With the volume of traffic through there, you can't do all of the repairs at once , and the narrow lanes limit the size of equipment we can get in there."
Counting traffic control and pothole repairmen, Quirk said, around a dozen people were part of the crew.
Marie Pauciello is the closest neighbor to the site of Friday's emergency repair and helped a KRDO crew squeeze between barbed-wire fencing and deep snow to reach the site for a closer look.
"The traffic congestion wouldn't be nearly as bad if they had started closing lanes farther back to give drivers more time to adjust," she said. "But there's not much else we can do. I know that the pothole has to be repaired."
Pauciello lives a quarter-mile away from I-25 and says it's not far enough away from constant noise.
"I hear the crashes, the tires squealing, the construction machinery, all the time," she said. "I was hoping they'd put up a sound wall here, but they said they won't because I'm the only person who lives on this side of my road."
Pothole repair wasn't the only cause of Gap traffic congestion Friday. Crews also were re-striping lane markers, slowing traffic behind the striping machine.
"The striping doesn't last long because of the weather and the salt that gets applied for snow and ice," Quirk said. "Those same conditions make it harder for the paint to adhere to the road. And paint always gets smeared by impatient drivers. But we have to do this. We have to keep the Gap safe and make sure people can safely get through it, day or night."
For a live traffic map click here.