Mayor Chris Beutler announced that the City considers the unusually high number of potholes in Lincoln streets an emergency situation and is shifting resources to increase repair efforts. At his direction, the City will more than double the number of workers from 30 to 72 by tomorrow. The number of pothole crews will nearly triple from 10 to 25 or 30.
"We are taking strong, decisive action to deal with the pothole situation. We can not allow Lincoln's streets to remain in such a state of disrepair," Beutler said. "Yes, this will cost more. We believe this is an investment we must make. Consider that the average homeowner in Lincoln pays about $432 a year in property taxes to the City. We all know that one trip to the car repair shop can cost far more than that, and it obviously is a matter of personal safety." The Mayor urged the public to show their appreciation for the pothole repair efforts by driving very carefully in the vicinity of the crews.
The Mayor said the City acted immediately when potholes began appearing after the City's second major snowstorm. On Dec. 31, he directed all street maintenance crews not working on snow removal to work on potholes. Repair efforts have been hampered by the continuing moisture and last week's warmer temperatures, which created melting. Despite those challenges, crews have filled 6,663 potholes over the past three weeks, using nearly 143 tons of material.
Public Works officials say all the repairs now are temporary because crews are using a "cold mix." to fill the potholes. The "hot mix" we require for permanent repairs is not available. Crews are needing to repair some potholes numerous times. The City had exhausted the local supply of the repair mix and are currently trucking it in from Omaha. At the City's request, local contractors have agreed to make more of the cold mix.
Crews will begin work on the arterial streets that carry the most traffic before on to those on the list of complaints. Residents can report potholes and other non-emergency street problems in three ways:
The Mayor also said the City has a great deal of arterial street rehabilitation coming up this construction season funded with federal stimulus dollars. The City will continue to make temporary pothole repairs on those streets. However, to maximize resources, permanent pothole repairs will not be made on those streets that are scheduled for major work later this year.