Your Connection To Jazz, Blues and NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Seattle drivers face more potholes

Pothole for web_0.jpg
Charla Bear
Seattle has three times more potholes this winter than last. The mayor says potholes like this one on Feb. 1, 2011 near Denny Ave and Aurora Ave N may take more than three days to fix.

Drivers in Seattle may have noticed they’re hitting more potholes this year than usual. City officials say they’re aware of 1,800 holes in the road this winter compared to 570 last winter. Mayor Mike McGinn says Mother Nature has made it tough to fix them:

“The rain, snow, freezing weather has led us to have a dramatically larger number of potholes and an aging infrastructure, frankly, this winter season than in prior years. We are not currently meeting the 72-hour standard we’ve set for ourselves because of the number of pothole requests.”

He says the city has tripled the number of pothole crews to respond to the issue and will keep them on the job until the problem is reduced.  The recent, dry weather could help.  Even so, McGinn says repairs will take longer than in the past.  Crews are using a new system for patching potholes to try to make them last longer.  

Want to try to avoid the holes?
Try the city's new online tool to track pothole reports and repair status.  You can add to the map by following the link to the street maintenance request form.

John Discepolo of Komo News reports that the big, deep holes cost drivers hundreds of dollars in repairs each year:

According to the Seattle City Clerk's Office, the number of claims against the city of Seattle for pothole damage has dropped, from 181 in 2008 to just 108 in 2010. But the amount in settlements paid out during that same time has more than doubled.

Joshua Renz, a driver, told Discepolo that potholes make driving in Seattle more difficult:

"Driving in the city is bad enough with all the cars around, and having to worry about whether or not you're gonna hit a pothole, which now I do more often, it's a pain," he said.

Charla joined us in January, 2010 and is excited to be back in Seattle after several years in Washington, DC, where she was a director and producer for NPR. Charla has reported from three continents and several outlets including Marketplace, San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. She has a master of journalism from University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in architecture from University of Washington.