General Road Maintenance
Our Public Works professionals work tirelessly with our partners to keep the county's extensive infrastructure system well-maintained.
Learn about the snow and ice removal process for Ramsey County roadways.
Potholes and crack sealing
Potholes appear near the end of the pavement’s life and can cause an uncomfortable ride for motorists. As pavement ages and becomes brittle, potholes often form in large numbers following major snow and ice storms – the result of a combination of water, heavy vehicle use and pavement expansion and contraction.
Potholes are often filled the same day they are reported and temporary lane shifts and closures maybe required to conduct the work. If a high number of potholes are reported on the same roadway section, the pothole patching repairs are prioritized. Cold patch is used to repair a pothole in the winter when hot-mix patch material is not available. Cold patch material is a temporary fix and one pothole may need to be filled multiple times during a winter. Once the weather warms up, hot-mix patch will be used to fill in remaining potholes.
Sealing cracks in the road extends the life of a roadway. Crack sealing prevents water from trickling underneath the roadway and prevents deterioration of the roadway. Crack sealing is performed as part of the regular maintenance schedule for county roads.
Ramsey County's All Abilities Transportation policy prioritizes design elements for pedestrians and bicycles. Most of the Ramsey County roadway system was built prior to 2000. Design standards at the time focused on vehicle speed and moving the most number of cars. Over time, we have found that this has not served all modes of travel.
The county’s goal is to encourage more biking and walking. Building a connected bike network throughout the county accommodates an increasing number of users, promotes health and wellness, and provides safer routes for all users.
County bike routes are identified in the bike plan and offer connections to state and municipal bike routes. The addition of bike lanes on roads is typically performed when the road undergoes resurfacing or restriping maintenance.
- High-intensity crosswalk system: The county's first high-intensity crosswalk system (HAWK) was installed at the intersection of Margaret Street across White Bear Avenue. The HAWK system uses special hybrid beacons to warn and control traffic at intersections with no signal. The system is designed to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing a street within a marked crosswalk. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians can watch a short video to learn how the HAWK system works.
- Rectangular rapid flashing beacon or RRFB: The rectangular rapid flashing beacon is a safety signal for pedestrians commonly referred to as an RRFB. Rectangular rapid flash beacons are considered at road crossings that have no other traffic signal.
RRFBs improve safety by notifying the driver of a vehicle that a pedestrian intends to cross the road. The RRFB is typically paired with a marked crosswalk and can be placed at a traditional intersection or a common mid-block crossing. Ramsey County installed its first RRFB on Johnson Parkway at Ames Avenue.
Resurfacing (mill and overlay)
Road resurfacing is a routine maintenance technique. The work consists of milling (grinding) the upper layer of bituminous pavement (also called blacktop) from the street and placing a new upper layer of pavement. Resurfacing extends the life of the roadway, provides a smooth driving surface and reduces potholes and patching needs.
Pedestrian curb ramps (where the sidewalk meets the road) are upgraded to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards during resurfacing projects.
Advance warning signs are placed within the project limits approximately a week prior to the start of paving work. Roads and driveways remain open to local traffic and emergency vehicles during resurfacing projects. In certain situations, the county may allow a contractor to close a road during a resurfacing project for worker safety.