Stimulus money might help fill potholes

March 27, 2009 (CHICAGO) City officials say many streets are in bad condition this year because budget problems have limited repair projects.

Spring is in the air and Chicago motorists are destined to find a few impressive potholes out on the roads. Friday, we got an update from the city about the status of restoring Chicago's roads.

There is no shortage of work at Cassidy Tire Company. They see a steady stream of pothole-punctured tires and dented rims.

"They're keeping us busy, not to the happiness of the people coming in," said Dan Depaolis, Cassidy Tire Company.

Customer Eric Rothman suspects potholes contributed to extra wear on his tires. Now he's replacing all of them.

"I very rarely use my car, and a little over half of the life was destroyed because of the potholes causing the tires to crack," Rothman said.

The road under the viaduct at 5100 North Milwaukee was a bumpy hazardous mess. Friday, the Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner used the newly repaired stretch as a backdrop. Commissioner Thomas Byrne says they will do 30 to 40 more badly potholed areas by the end of April. He says the roads are in worse shape than normal due to budget constraints by the state the last three years.

"The streets wouldn't be in this condition and we could keep up. We would certainly have an issue that we would fix, but we wouldn't be in dire need as we are right now," said Byrne.

The commissioner hopes to repair 40 miles of Chicago streets as stimulus money comes to Illinois.

"The new stimulus dollars will enable us to resume and aggressive paving program as we continue to work on the state with additional funding to allow more resurfacing," Byrne said.

The commissioner urges motorists and cyclists, anyone who notices potholes, to call 311. He says, not only will it be put on a list, but they're mapping to see which areas they need to get to most quickly.

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