City of Missoula Needs Help to Smooth Things Over

Make It Missoula originally published this post on January 23, but we think it’s more relevant now than ever.  In fact, we’ve decided to run a photo contest on the Make It Missoula Facebook page.  (Post your best shot).  It will not only serve the city in knowing where some of the worst potholes are, it will be fun to see your creative approach to taking photos of potholes.


Missoula has experienced above-average levels of moisture this year, and for some in the city that makes things expensive. The Missoula Public Works Department is tasked with filling potholes on Missoula’s streets, and though crews have been hard at work every day, weather permitting, it is difficult to keep up on finding every one out there.

This is where you come in. Missoula Public Works Director, Steve King, is asking citizens of Missoula to lend their watchful eyes to finding potholes. Potholes are created when water fills and freezes in cracks in the roadways, and since this year we have experienced a great number of freezing and thawing temperatures, it’s been especially rough on the roads.

The City sets aside roughly $2.5 million annually for its street division budget, and already the pothole repairs are taking a deep cut. These increased pothole repairs may mean some budget restructuring later in the year, but for now the City’s priority is to get these potholes repaired so no one is injured or no car, bike or stroller is damaged.

And this isn’t just a job for concerned neighborhood residents or cyclists who travel close to the road at relatively low speeds. Pedestrians who walk alongside the streets or those who walk to/from bus stops can spot these “tire eaters” and report them to the Public Works Department. Being specific as you can when reporting a pothole is key, too. Don’t leave a message that says there’s a “hole on 3rd near Orange.” Detail which side of the road the pothole is, what the nearest intersection is, how far from the curb it is and its rough dimensions. And remember, two-inch potholes are probably not as much of a priority as two-foot ones.

To report a pothole, you can call the City at 552-6360 or submit information online by clicking here.

Click here to see Ryan’s blog archive.


Ryan Newhouse has pedaled through thousands of miles of Missoula’s streets and trails as a commuter, long-distance cyclist, recreationist and former city bicycling ambassador. Although he now works from home, he still uses two feet or two wheels to push or pull himself and his daughter around town.  Back to “Bike It” home page or check out Ryan’s own blog.