A motorist drives along a street near a large water-filled pothole. (credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans)

A motorist drives along a street near a large water-filled pothole. (credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Much of North Texas has thawed out after an ice storm that nearly shut down the region for several days.

But the road to recovery is not without it’s bumps and in this case, potholes.

“What happens is the water hits the cracks on the road surfaces, fills with water and then freezes and expands,” said Ryan LaFontaine, spokesperson for TxDOT.

When the water thaws, the pocket of air that was created, collapses under the weight of a vehicle.

After days of sanding and plowing ice, Texas Department of Transportation crews are now on a different mission: to fill thousands of potholes left behind by the storm.

Crews have been assessing roadways and filling in potholes, focusing on North Texas’ major highways first, including I-35, I-635 LBJ and 75 Central.

While the roads are being repaired, so are many vehicles.

“If you hit a pothole at anything over 10 miles per hour, you probably — you have a very good chance of knocking the front suspension out of alignment,” said Phillip Sigety, shop manager at Kay’s Paint and Auto Body. “You can go as little as 50 to 75 miles of highway driving highway speeds and you can ruin a tire.”

Sigety says alignment should be one of the first things you repair on a vehicle.

Sliding vehicles, potholes problems and cobblestone ice have all made for a boom in business auto repair shops around North Texas.

“You can do a lot of damage under a car and not really realize it because you don’t see it, so I do expect a lot of mufflers and scratched shields and body and pans and stuff like that,” Sigety said.

But while the storm lasted only a few days, repairing the damage from it could take weeks.

“This was a unique storm,” said LaFontaine. “And the process to recover and repair the roadways is also going to be unique.”

TxDOT is asking residents to call their Pothole Hotline at 800-452-9292 or visit txdot.gov to report potholes.

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