Damage on state highways

​​The local county highway departments perform highway maintenance on the state highways per Wis. Statute 84.07(1). This work is part of a nearly 100-year-old partnership agreement between the State of Wisconsin and the 72 county governments to boost efficiency. Counties are provided with resources and guidance from the state for maintenance work such as pothole patching, crack filling and snow removal.

  • If you want to report a state highway area in need of attention for things such as potholes, debris in the road, etc., please contact the local county highway department.
  • If your car is damaged due to a pothole, hitting a construction barrel or debris in the road, the state or county is not liable for your damage. Please contact your insurance company in those situations.
  • County maintenance operations are protected under Wisconsin's Move Over Law. If you see workers out on the highway, please slow down and, when possible, give them additional room to work.


Potholes can form any time of year. They begin when water seeps into the soil under the roadway. WisDOT works in partnership with county highway maintenance departments to fix potholes on the state highway system, and drivers can report potholes directly to counties. The Wisconsin Counties Association is a good resource for county contact information.

Lifecycle of potholes in cold weather Lifecycle of potholes in warm weather

Pavement buckling

pavement bucklingPavement buckles are different from potholes and most common when the weather quickly goes from cool to very hot, causing pavement to expand. This can cause concrete slabs of pavement to push against each other, and if the pressure becomes great enough the pavement can buckle. While it’s difficult to predict if or where buckling may occur, WisDOT offers the following tips for motorists:

  • Slow down, buckle up and eliminate distractions to focus your full attention on the roadway.​​​​

  • Watch for slowing traffic and be ready to move over for all roadside workers including highway crews as they repair damaged pavement.
  • Before your trip, check the 511 Travel Information system for the latest on any incidents or delays.
  • If necessary, report serious pavement issues by calling 911. Be ready to provide specific location information.


WisDOT continues to develop strategies for data-driven asset management to help extend useful service life of state highways. Additionally, the department regularly participates in research to benefit the designs and materials of Wisconsin pavements.

Safe driving

Please exercise additional caution should you encounter maintenance operations while driving. Wisconsin's Move Over Law requires drivers to provide space for first responders as well as maintenance workers.