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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is still a lot of winter ahead, but the Missouri Department of Transportation is planning for warmer weather, and smoother drives.

MoDOT says its crews are already working to fill and repair potholes across the state.

The department asks drivers to slow down and move over a lane when they see road crews working. The extra space helps ensure crews stay safe while doing their jobs next to vehicles traveling highway speeds.

Crews have a lot of work ahead of them. MoDOT is responsible for 34,000 miles of road, including interstates and state highways.

Last year alone MoDOT patched more than 800,000 potholes, at a cost of more than $16 million.

Potholes are common on both sides of the state line. They form when rain and snow leave behind moisture in cracks in the pavement. The moisture freezes at night, then thaws during the day, leaving gaps in the dirt below the pavement. Cars then drive over the weakened pavement, breaking it.

“Between the drastic changes in temperatures throughout this winter season and the moisture from precipitation, we’re already seeing a high number of potholes developing on Missouri highways,” Natalie Roark, MoDOT state maintenance director said.

MoDOT asks drivers to report any pothole they see to the correct department.

If the pothole is on an interstate or highway maintained by MoDOT it can be reported one of two ways:

Potholes on county or city streets and subdivisions should be reported to local city or county maintenance departments.