(AP) This merciless winter is taking a heavy toll on the nation's pipes and pavement, breaking hundreds of water mains and opening potholes so big they snap tire rims and wheel axles like Popsicle sticks.
The relentless cycle of snow and bitter cold is testing the strength of infrastructure, the patience of the public and the stamina of crews whose job is to keep the roads safe and the taps running.
Even after the weather eases, cities and states will be left with steep repair bills that could affect their budgets for months to come.
New York City crews filled 69,000 potholes in the first five weeks of the year. In Iowa, a Des Moines official said the city has never endured so many broken water mains.