I-Team: Filling Potholes

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Faced with scores of winter potholes still untouched, one Little Village resident took matters into his own hands and began filling them himself. (WLS)

It may be a problem on your block: winter potholes, still untouched.

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) says it's filled more than a half a million this year, but the I-Team found one man who says he's been forced to break the law and take matters into his own hands.

The City of Chicago is not happy about the idea. A CDOT spokesperson says they "absolutely" don't want people filling potholes on their own and that, in fact, doing so is illegal.

But one Little Village resident says his calls to the city have been ignored, so he called the I-Team to show us how, he says, he's helping the neighborhood.

Raul Montes, a community activist who once considered running for state senate and alderman, is taking what some may call extreme action to attack the pothole problem in his Little Village neighborhood.

Montes says he's been spending about $50 a bag on asphalt filler and even more money on his own tools to fill dozens and dozens of potholes on his neighborhood streets.

He claims calls to 311 have been ignored.

"It is an outrage," Montes says, "and I have to take an initiative to make a difference."

But the city says that doesn't give him the right to do the work.

A CDOT spokesperson says montes is breaking the law which says, "It shall be unlawful for any person to make an opening in, or to construct or repair any pavement in, any public way or other public place without first obtaining a public way work permit..."

A CDOT spokesperson also sent the I-Team a copy of these records indicating that crews visited many of the streets in question on 10 separate occasions since December, but it was still easy for us to spot dozens of deep potholes which appeared to be untouched in the same area.

"They are compromising the safety of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists," Montes asserts.

As we watched Montes at work, drivers and neighbors honked and told us they support his efforts.

And just days after the I-Team called CDOT, crews showed up on the blocks in question, professionally patching dozens of potholes, all over the neighborhood,

Again, filling potholes on your own, in Chicago is against the law. You could face a $5,000 fine. The city says it will most likely not press charges against Montes.

Filling your own potholes in traffic can also be a dangerous situation.

CDOT also told us, even before the I-Team started asking questions, it had already made plans to entirely resurface 2 areas of streets in the Little Village neighborhood in August.

It's part of a broader plan to resurface 350 miles of Chicago city streets.
Related Topics:
road repairpotholesI-TeamChicago - Little Village
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