The Washington City Council Monday, Aug. 5, approved an ordinance that requires contractors to temporarily patch trenches following work along city streets.

The code change was recommended by John Nilges, public works director, who has been exploring the use of “cold patch” asphalt to cover trenches after they have been backfilled by rock.

During street excavation for water and sewer lines, contractors had been required to add rock over open trenches, however, over time the rock settles. City hall has received multiple complaints over the past few years and there is the potential for insurance claims if there is damage to a vehicle due to the loose gravel.

Cold patches will cover the trenches until the city can add the longer-lasting patches.

The city covers trenches with more permanent hot mix asphalt about three times each year. A city crew makes rounds typically in spring, summer and fall.

The cold patches would be the responsibility of the contractors and the materials are readily available year-round.

The council voted 7-0 in favor of the ordinance. Council member Greg Skornia was not at the meeting.