City crews start using more-durable 'hot mix' to patch Twin Cities potholes

Christina Villabos patches potholes
A Minneapolis public works employee patches potholes on March 14. A limited supply of more-durable "hot mix" patch material for potholes is now available in the Twin Cities.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Good news for Twin Cities drivers still trying to navigate cratered roads in this epic pothole season: City crews now have access to some “hot mix” asphalt to patch pavement.

St. Paul city officials said this week that a commercial asphalt plant has opened for the season early, providing a limited amount of hot mix — even as the city’s own asphalt plant remains closed.

“We are filling potholes with a hot mix as fast as we can,” said Lisa Hiebert, a spokesperson for St. Paul Public Works.

The hot patch material is more durable than the “cold mix” of asphalt and gravel that had been the only option for city crews for weeks, as they tried to address the growing number — and size — of potholes in the metro area.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is Member supported public media. Show your support today, donate, and ensure access to local news and in-depth conversations for everyone.

Hiebert says the city’s asphalt plant — which supplies hot mix to not only St. Paul but also Minneapolis and other agencies in the Cities — underwent repairs over the winter, and needs some additional work before resuming operations. She said the weather has to warm up, too, before the plant can open.

“We need the temperatures, the weather, to cooperate with us just a little bit more,” Hiebert said. “We need the nights to get a little bit warmer, stay above 35 for five consecutive days.”

She said the city plant should open in the first week of April. Until then, city crews will use the limited amount of hot mix they can get — and Hiebert said drivers will need to keep using extra caution and give each other room to slow down to avoid potholes for a little longer.

“Take it slow and easy on the roads, drive very carefully and, you know, just continue to be patient,” she said. “I know this has been a frustrating year for everyone.”