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The Pothole Problem: Our Swiss Cheese Roads

By Anthony Todd in News on Mar 9, 2009 5:00PM

Potholes.jpg News Flash - Chicago has a pothole problem. Ok, anyone who drives (or walks . . . or looks out their window) can see that, but apparently it’s reached new highs this year. CBS2 is reporting that the city has taken notice of over 7,000 unfilled potholes, and that’s just the ones that have been reported. Thomas Byrne, the Department of Transportation Commissioner, reports that crews are now working 7 days a week, filling 3,000-4,000 potholes every day, but they are barely making a dent in the problem. About a month ago, CBS also reported that these pothole patches sometimes only survive a few days.

What can you do about this problem, aside from buying a truck full of asphalt and becoming a rogue road crew? There are two important things every Chicagoan should know about potholes. If you see a pothole, call 311, the non-emergency line. Far from being annoyed, the city welcomes such calls - it’s the only way they know where to go. They keep a database and map of every reported pothole in the city, and whenever a crew is dispatched, they also fill every pothole in the area that they find.

If a pothole severely damages your car, pull over immediately. Take a picture of the car, take a picture of the pothole - you might even want to call and file a police report.The city has a form you can fill out to claim reimbursement for damages caused by city negligence, which includes potholes. One thing to watch out for - they want you to get two written estimates for the repairs and attach them to the claim. Hey, it’s still better than paying for that new front-end yourself.