Patching Potholes in Paved Streets

The purpose of this webpage is 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 pavement conditions across the City, 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 and were only minimally maintained since.  These streets are therefore nearing, at, or past the end of their useful lives since streets that do not receive proactive maintenance typically must be replaced in 30 years or less.  In addition, the City used to sealcoat streets but stopped sealcoating in 2019 upon observing pavement damage due to surface stripping on streets that received sealcoats, especially streets that received more than one sealcoat.  Finally, the City just experienced one of the wettest winters ever with an above average number of freeze-thaw cycles, which pushed these streets over the edge resulting in a plethora of potholes that City staff are unable to repair in a timely manner.

2023 Pothole Patching Plans

The City’s Public Works department is staffed to patch potholes part-time, which until recent years was manageable.  The core duties of these staff also include plowing streets, sweeping streets, maintaining and repairing storm sewer systems, mowing ditches, pruning boulevard trees, maintaining flags, and numerous other duties.  These staff place cold-patch mix in deep potholes during winter months, then during non-winter months they fill potholes using hot-mix once bituminous plants open in late April or May.  In recent years, the number of potholes have increased such that Public Works staff have had to neglect other duties to keep up with patching deep potholes, while also employing contractors to spray patch shallower potholes.  Then due to this Spring’s plethora of potholes, 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, which are designated as Improvement Projects #23-14, 23-15, and 23-16.

Long-Term Pavement Management Program (PMP)

Since 2014 the City of Ramsey has employed a long-term pavement management program with the goal of performing the proper pavement treatment operations at the proper times to maximize the life of our 185-plus miles of paved streets as cost-effectively as possible.  Since 2014, the City has employed the following pavement maintenance operations.

  • Cracksealing – The City annually crackseals up to 23 miles of pavement on our public street system to extend pavement life by preventing stormwater runoff from seeping through pavement cracks and joints thereby minimizing damage due to wet subgrade soils, especially during freeze-thaw cycles. Crackseal projects are typically completed three years after pavement is constructed, reconstructed, or overlaid, then every seven years thereafter until the pavement is overlaid or reconstructed.
  • Sealcoating – In 2019, the City indefinitely suspended sealcoat improvements due to observed pavement stripping under sealcoat issues, which causes approximately the top inch of pavement to strip away from the underlying pavement. These areas of stripping originally show as small spots in the surface of the pavement, but quickly migrate into larger areas.
  • Pavement Rejuvenation – Since 2019, the City has completed annual pavement rejuvenator projects on up to 4 miles of pavement on our public street system in lieu of sealcoating.  A maltene-based petroleum product called Reclamite is used, which penetrates into asphalt pavement and restores reactive components (maltenes) that are lost over time due to oxidation to help keep the pavement flexible, preventing the pavement from forming cracks.  
  • Overlays – The City annually overlays up to four miles of pavement on our public street system to extend pavement life by sealing underlying pavement cracks, similar to cracksealing, and to increase the structural/load carrying capacity of the pavement thereby extending the life of the pavement up to 20 years.  Overlay improvements are typically applied 20 years after pavement is constructed, reconstructed, or overlaid. 
  • Street Reclamation/Reconstruction – The City annually reclaims/reconstructs up to two miles of pavement on our public street system to replace pavement, curb and gutter and storm sewer systems that have reached or exceeded the end of their useful lives.  New and/or reclaimed/reconstructed streets constructed to today’s design standards are anticipated to have a 60-year design life, assuming proactive maintenance operations continue to be performed on the pavement throughout its useful life.  

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

In summary, City Council and Staff are committed to patching potholes and improving the condition of streets across the City in as timely a manner as possible.  

Report Potholes

If you notice a dangerously large or deep pothole on a Ramsey City Street or are looking for more information, please email Marsha Weidner, Engineering Assistant, or reach out by phone at 763-433-9839. For detailed maps check out the Engineering Improvement page, for current information on filling potholes and streets City Improvement Projects | Ramsey, MN ( IP23-14, 23-15 & 23-16. 

You must include a location, such as a cross street or street address. Note that some roads in Ramsey are managed by the County and the State, and the City does not handle requests regarding those roads. This map shows County roads and State roads. Contact info for each is located below:

  • County Roads (green in PDF above)
    • Anoka County Highway
    • 763-324-3100
  • State Roads (red in PDF above)
    • MnDOT Dispatch
    • 651-237-7110
      • General number for the Metro Division Office, 24-hour number