TODAY   |  February 26, 2014

Potholes rampant on roads due to rough winter

Cities across the country say they’ve never been through a winter that’s wreaked so much havoc on the roads. The brutal weather has caused major problems on the nation’s infrastructure. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>> a big part of our next story. if you're about to head out on your morning commute, you'll have to dodge more than a few pothol potholes. cities say they've never been through a winter with so much havoc on the road. tom costello in washington , d.c. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. this is just one of thousands, i mean thousands of potholes here in washington , d.c. they've already filled, but it's already sinking yet again. if you hit one of these, you're talking at least $400 in damage to your car on average. and it's not just the east coast and the midwest. the southeast has also been through a brutal winter.

>> it's the bone rattling crunch across the country this winter.

>> hit the pothole, jams on the side of the rim, bent the rim and had a flat.

>> reporter: ruining suspensions, damaging tires and forcing governments to fill the holes. 3/4 of cities and states have already outspent their winter maintenance budgets. in washington , crews have already filled 9,000 holes. in chicago, they're up to 165,000. in new york where a school bus was nearly swallowed, the mayor has added an extra $7 million to the pothole budget. while in indiana, the governor has ordered a pothole surge.

>> repair as many potholes as quickly as possible.

>> reporter: here's how potholes development, pavement is laid over a base layer of gravel and soil. when water leaks through cracks in the pavement, it seeps into the base layer. when that water then freezes, it expands moving the soil. once a car rolls over the pavement in a weakened spot, the pavement cracks and gives way.

>> wheels, tires, control arms.

>> car damage can get expensive quickly.

>> it hurt the axle, broke the strut and the wheel went back into the fender.

>> the total bill?

>> about $3,000.

>> 3,000.

>> the potholes are only making the dire conditions of the nation's infrastructure even worse. the former secretary of transportation says congress needs to step in with billions in repair money.

>> we are in a crisis in america when it comes to infrastructure.

>> meanwhile, for the morning commute.

>> i hit a pothole twice on my right side, the front tire and then the back tire, it bent the rims, ruined the tires, cost me about $900. and it ain't cheap. watch where you're driving. back to you.

>> all right. tom costello.

>> it's a mess. when you drive everywhere around this area and all you see are these things like a foot deep.

>> when they're filled with water, you don't know how deep they are until it's too late.

>> and this summer, i predict massive water main breaks across the country because of the infrastructure.

>> what's the good news from you today?

>> yeah. i feel very pretty. i love my selfie today.

>> very good.

>> you need more of your ginger juice?