As spring arrives, so do Chicago potholes

March 19, 2010 4:34:54 PM PDT
Spring is almost here, and that means pothole season has arrived for Chicago drivers.However, this year, motorists may notice fewer gouges in the road.

Potholes on Chicago streets can be impossible to avoid.

"We ran into 10 or 12 just coming here, and you can't avoid them because there is a lot of traffic here," said Justin Floyd, a driver on Chicago's near West Side.

The Chicago Dept. of Transportation says there were 100,000 fewer potholes this year that last year because the weather was not as harsh as in previous years and because of stimulus money that was used to resurface approximately 30 miles of the busiest streets.

"Last winter, we were filling tens of thousands of potholes on the pothole-plagued streets, and we were out to those location several times. This time, we've not been out there once," said Brian Steele of the Chicago Dept. of Transportation.

Steele also said at this time year, CDOT filled more than 280,000 potholes. So far this year, they have filled more than 160,000.

"This winter, our duration time is averaging two to three days. Sometimes, it can be quicker than that. Sometimes, it might take a little longer, especially if it's on a residential street. Our primary focus is on arterial streets," said Steele.

According to Steele, workers are out seven days a week filling and repairing potholes. Friday morning, workers were busy attacking the pothole problem in the 2100-block of West Cortez.

"We haven't heard about a lot of complaints. I am certain there are some out there, but because we are seeing far fewer potholes, and because we are able to get to them more quickly, the complaints seem to be down this winter," Steele said.

"I think there is a huge problem in the way they fix, and they'll fix again next year. The way they fix, they always put the pavement into the hole filled with water and [it] never bonds with the surface, and this way, they have the job again next year," said concerned resident Dan Kordula.

There is advice for those who come upon potholes.

"Please report a pothole. The city of Chicago has more than 3,800 miles of streets in Chicago, and potholes can occur on any of the streets. And we depend on the eyes and ears of the citizens to help us find the locations," said Steele.