Sunshine, warmth allow city public works crews to tackle potholes
February 20, 2016 12:00 AM
Crews worked yesterday and will continue today cold-patching potholes around the area.
By Lexi Belculfine / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Public works crews will take advantage of today’s unseasonable warmth and sunshine as they patch city roads battered by the bitter winter.
“It is not a blitz, just putting some extra resources to potholes, in addition to other tasks, while we have some nice weather,” said Mike Gable, public works director. “It will be winter again next week, and [we’ll] need to get the crews ready for the next snow/ice event.”
Twenty-four three-person cold-patch crews worked Friday and will again today to address citizen requests and known problem areas across the city, said Katie O’Malley, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill Peduto. Cold patch temporarily repairs potholes.
Four street sweepers in main corridors and business districts will clean curbside debris that collected during the recent onslaught of snow removal and plowing, she said.
Temperatures today will peak near 60, but by midweek will slide 20 degrees to near-normal, and fall to lows in the teens by the end of the week, said Mike Fries, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Snow or rain is also likely midweek, he said.
Concentrated pothole blitzes have not yet been scheduled, as they require balmy and dry weather for several days, Ms. O’Malley said.
From Jan. 1 through Friday, the city’s 311 response center received 547 pothole-related requests, 331 of which had been addressed and another 158 that were listed as being in-progress Friday afternoon, she said.
The center processed 4,919 pothole requests across the city’s 890 miles of asphalt streets in January and February of 2014 and 1,525 during the same period in 2015.
Potholes cost U.S. drivers about $3 billion annually in vehicle damage ranging from punctured tires to more expensive suspension issues, according to an AAA survey.
City officials have acknowledged that the poor condition of streets stems from years of neglect. Amid chronic financial troubles, Pittsburgh did not keep up with resurfacing, often doing half or less than half of the mileage required to roads in good repair.
The city’s fiscal overseer said in 2014 that Pittsburgh needed to pave at least 86.6 miles per year to adequately maintain streets. The city paved 37 miles in the 2014 season and 43 last year, when an additional 40 miles were done by utilities, the county and state.
Operators answer 311 calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and can be reached at 412-255-2621 from outside the city. Voice or text messages can sent to 412-573-9736, and online submissions will be received at @Pgh311 on Twitter or an online form on the city website: http://pittsburghpa.gov/311/form.
Lexi Belculfine: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.
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