City’s Pothole Blitz Makes for a Smoother Ride

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

So, when you've been out and about on your shopping rounds recently - driving from store to store - has the ride seemed a bit smoother, less of the old bounce and jounce?

You are not imagining things: Oakland's Public Works Department has been out in force pursuing its goal of filling 3,000 potholes in a pothole repair blitz between April 29 and June 26. According to Kristine Shaff, Public Information Officer for the department, 2,664 holes had been filled as of June 21. She added that she had every confidence the goal of 3,000 would be reached by the end of the blitz.

Two crews of three workers each have been carrying out the program, inaugurated about 10 years ago, Shaff said. They have been aided in their work by the addition of a new repair vehicle called a Hot Asphalt Truck. Still, she said, it's a lot of hard work. Crews have already used 140 tons of hot asphalt and 900 bags of cold patch.

The work can be dangerous, as well. Due to the noise of the machinery, the nature of the job, and drivers who may be impatient with the flow of traffic at a repair site, workers are often at risk. Safety standards call for placing orange cones at work sites, but drivers often fail to pay attention to them, Shaff said.

Potholes, of course, come in different shapes, widths and depths. The city prioritizes them by degrees of size, responding to the worst of the worst with a 1-day response. Overall in 2012, 9,000 potholes were repaired, more than the number reported by citizens. Citizen reports are helpful to the department, Shaff said, guiding it in structuring its work schedule.

There are several ways to report a pothole problem, and multiple reports are acceptable, even encouraged, to demonstrate the extent of the need. 1. Call Public Works at 510/615-5566 2. Use the smart phone app SeeClickFix (http://www.seeclickfix.com/oakland/) 3. E-mail pwacallcenter@oaklandnet.com for the online reporting form. 4. Visit the Public Works web site at: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/PWA/index.htm Then, enjoy the ride.