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Potholing

The city’s pothole repair program seems to be going well.

Faster response by city crews to resident-reported potholes has saved thousands of drivers a bumpier ride around Houston the past six months, though officials warn there’s a long way to go before local streets are smooth driving.

Since Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Jan. 4 that resident-reported potholes would be assessed within 24 hours and filled the next business day, more than 3,400 potholes in the city have been patched because of calls to 311 or online reports from residents. That’s at least 600 more filled potholes than all of 2015, based on city records, though some accountings of the number filled differ.

“The voters demanded pothole repair and I think that was a core area in the election and they got it,” said Mark Klein, president of Super Neighborhood 12, bounded by where Loop 610 and U.S. 290 converge and extending north to Pinemont-area neighborhoods.

[…]

The number of potholes filled by the city because of calls from residents, however, is a fraction of the number of potholes actually filled in Houston. By some measures, overall pothole repairs are down from a peak in mid-2015. According to the key performance indicators report prepared by Houston Public Works each month, from February to May the city filled fewer potholes this year than in 2015.

The figures used and verified by the city’s “Pothole Tracker” website, meanwhile, show the total number of potholes increasing. Eric Dargan, deputy public works director over the streets and drainage division, said the calculations are different because the internal performance measures all potholes, while the pothole tracker tracks work orders. Multiple potholes could be filled on a single work order, Dargan said.

Despite differing figures, Dargan said he’s confident Houston’s 16,000 lane miles of street are in better shape, while he cautions there is much more work to do to fill potholes.

“The formula is right, the question is how much funding we have for maintenance,” Dargan said, explaining street repairs vary from simple potholes to complete street rebuilds with sewer pipes, such as the recent work on Shepherd south of Buffalo Bayou. “I would love to get my assets on a 10-year cycle. We are nowhere close to that.”

Here’s the city’s pothole page, if you’re into that sort of thing. Fixing potholes is good, and increasing people’s faith that calling 311 will make something happen is better, but completing the Rebuild Houston project is critical, as it addresses the long-term issues that attention. In the meantime, though, go ahead and call 311 or use the app and report that pothole that’s been bugging you. You’ll feel better once you do.

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3 Comments

  1. matx says:

    Bissonnet and some of it’s intersecting streets just west of 59 and east of BW8 had some doozies that I reported online and whether it was because of that or just coincidence, they were fixed within a week. That said, wherever the pothole is located the fix is often very temporary as the filler chips away and in a matter of months it’s gone. Even on stretches of road that have been repaved, the underlying issue that caused potholes is sometimes not addressed so pavement will buckle or sink in the same places.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    @matx:

    I agree, patching holes with asphalt IS a temporary repair. The proper way to fix them would be to cut out the bad section, lay rebar, and pour concrete. Many roads are so bad that the only real solution is to rip them up and start over. Having said that, at least Turner is trying to make a difference with the pothole program, considering that the city does not have unlimited funds. I think he’s doing the best he can with what he has, and that’s the mark of a good mayor.

    Turner is surprising me…..in a good way, unlike Parker, who was a competent comptroller, but used her mayoral terms to promote her pet projects and political agenda while the city crumbled.

  3. voter_worker says:

    @Bill The city crumbles regardless of who is Mayor and it’s been that way the entire time I’ve lived here, since the early 70s. Could it be that 600 square miles of entropy is more than any Mayor can realistically handle?