Patching Potholes in Paved Streets

This webpage aims to summarize why so many streets in the City of Ramsey are plagued by potholes and what the City is doing to patch the potholes and improve conditions both now and in the long term.

Potholes, Potholes, and More Potholes

About half the City streets in Ramsey were constructed between 1975 and 1985. These streets are therefore nearing, at, or past the end of their useful lives and must be replaced in 30 years or less. The City used to seal coat streets but stopped seal coating in 2019 upon observing pavement damage due to surface stripping on streets that received seal coats, especially streets that were treated to more than one seal coat. This past winter was one of the wettest ever, with an above-average number of freeze-thaw cycles that pushed these streets over the edge, resulting in numerous potholes that City staff cannot promptly repair.

2023 Pothole Patching Plans

The City’s Public Works Department maintenance crews place a cold-patch mix in deep potholes as a temporary patch during winter. During warmer weather, they fill potholes using hot-mix asphalt once plants open in late April or May. The City’s Public Works Department staff patch potholes part-time, which until recent years was manageable. Not this Spring.

This Spring, the City Council authorized staff to develop plans for hiring more contractors to repair most of the deep and shallow potholes across the City as quickly as possible. The following link will take you to the Improvement Projects webpage, where detailed information, including maps, can be found on these pavement maintenance projects designated Improvement Projects #23-14, 23-15, and 23-16.

Long-Term Pavement Management Program (PMP)

Since 2014, the City of Ramsey has followed a long-term pavement management program to perform proper pavement treatment operations at the right time to maximize the life of our 185-plus miles to be as cost-effective as possible. The program consists of these steps:

  • Crack-Sealing – The City annually crack-seals up to 23 miles of pavement to extend life by preventing stormwater runoff from seeping through cracks and joints, minimizing damage, especially during freeze-thaw cycles. Crack seal projects are typically completed three years after the pavement is constructed, reconstructed, or overlaid, then every seven years until the pavement is redone.
  • Sealcoating – In 2019, the City indefinitely suspended seal coat improvements due to issues, which caused about the top inch of pavement to strip away from the pavement below. These stripping areas started showing small spots on the surface but quickly grew more prominent.
  • Pavement Rejuvenation – Since 2019, the City has completed pavement rejuvenator projects on up to four miles of pavement each year instead of seal coating. A maltene-based petroleum product called Reclamite is used. It penetrates the asphalt and restores components lost over time due to oxidation, which helps keep pavement flexible and prevents it from forming cracks.
  • Overlays – Annually, the City overlays up to four miles of pavement to extend its life. This is done by sealing underlying pavement cracks, increasing the pavement's structural/load-carrying capacity, and extending its life to 20 years. Overlay improvements are typically applied 20 years after the pavement’s initial construction.
  • Street Reclamation/Reconstruction – The City annually reclaims/reconstructs up to two miles of pavement, replacing curb and gutter and storm sewer systems that have reached or exceeded the end of their useful lives. New or reclaimed/reconstructed streets with today’s design standards are anticipated to have a 60-year life with proactive maintenance.

In 2022, the City Council authorized bonding for an additional $12M to double the number of projects (overlays and reconstructs) in the City’s 10-year Capital Improvement Program, thus improving pavement conditions more quickly. This will result in overlaying and reconstructing approximately 45 percent of all City streets by 2032. View a map of streets proposed to be overlaid or rebuilt by 2032.