What to do if your car is damaged by a Chicago pothole

CHICAGO (WLS) -- All hands are on deck in Chicago to fix the pothole problem after a rough week of weather.

The potholes have many drivers frustrated and the pavement is like Swiss cheese in some parts of the city. Near 35th Street and Western Avenue, the holes are deep and filled with water.

"They are terrible now that the snow has melted, you hit a pothole every few seconds," said driver Christie Howard.

Rideshare service drivers struggling to avoid them, filling up their tires with air at this gas station in the South Loop.

Janae Batie has been an Uber driver for three months. She says she has seen car-eating craters all over the city.

"It's just everywhere," Batie said. "It's just inconvenient. My back tire ,actually the pressure is going down. It keeps going down to 33. I keep filling it up. I had to change my tire. It's ridiculous."

To address the expected increase in potholes as a result of last week's record setting cold followed by the weekend's warm weather, Mayor Emanuel has directed the Chicago Department of Transportation to put crews on the street seven days a week.

"We're going to be very busy, but we're ready for it," said CDOT First Deputy Commissioner Tom Carney. "This is what the Department of Transportation does. We pride ourselves. We fill potholes better than any other city and we're ready to take on the challenge."

Twenty five crews will be dedicated to the job and the city says they have already taken measures to prevent even more.

"We paved 310 miles of roadway with CDOT Vans, our sister agencies so that was a great number," Carney said. "That was a lot of roadways that were repaired this last summer so the city is in good position."

The city says this is prime time for potholes and drivers are feeling every bump.

"Either they're gonna fix the potholes or I need just to be more cautious driving," said driver Marcus Arnold.

Pothole damage is keeping repair shops busy with issues like bent rims and worse.

"It can be a couple hundred dollars for a new tire, or $ 500 to $1000 for a damaged suspension," said Brian Metz with Cassidy Tire.

But there is good news: if you suffered damage from a pothole, you can file a claim for reimbursement with the Office of the City Clerk.

Either way, the city would like you to report the exact location of a pothole by calling 311, texting "Chicago" to 311-311 or using the city's new mobile app. The free app is available through the Apple Store or Google Play. That will put it on the list for crews to try to repair.
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