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Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 2/6/2014

EDITORIAL

Pesky potholes

Even in a winter as extreme as this one, the most jarring potholes still must get fixed promptly

City of Toledo  workers patch potholes on Berdan Avenue near Detroit Avenue ahead of this week’s storm. City of Toledo workers patch potholes on Berdan Avenue near Detroit Avenue ahead of this week’s storm.
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An excessive number of potholes dot Toledo’s streets and overpasses, and even more emerged during this week’s snowstorm. Douglas Road, Bancroft Street, Arlington Avenue, and Anthony Wayne Trail have some of the worst offenders, but they have plenty of company.

Potholes are an annoyance, and worse, to drivers who have to shimmy and dodge their way to work, basketball practice, and the grocery store. There is really only one way to protect your vehicle as best you can: Slow down — way down.

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Potholes are a big part of the long list of assaults this unusually snowy and cold winter has brought. The pothole blues are hitting streets and thoroughfares around the country in areas where temperatures have dropped below zero — and that’s just about everywhere in the Midwest.

No one wants to lose tires, rims, or worse yet, axles to jarring potholes. But it is important to remember that this is no ordinary winter: With snowstorms and extreme temperatures nearly every week, city workers have had special difficulty staying on top of road repairs.

On days when they are out salting and plowing roads, potholes are popping open beneath them. It’s natural to want to blame city officials, but they insist they are not ignoring the problem. Employees have been called in to work overtime and on weekends.

Potholes are a seasonal problem, and their annual emergence does not indicate that Division of Streets, Bridges, and Harbor workers are failing Toledo motorists. “This is the worst I have ever seen, not just the number of potholes, but also the depth,” said Dave Welch, the division’s commissioner.

“The extreme cold we had, then ... water and moisture,” he said. “Once it sinks into the pavement and the temperature drops below freezing at night, the ice expands and pops everything up.”

Still, city officials need to ensure that repaving projects are spending taxpayer dollars effectively. Last month, Toledo City Council voted to spend $8.1 million this year for such improvements.

As of last Friday, Toledo employees had filled 6,556 potholes this winter, 436 of those repairs last week. The work did not stop even as the city braced for this week’s Level 3 storm.

On Monday, craters that seemed the size of Cleveland appeared along the downtown exit and bridge from Interstate-75 south. A day later, the potholes were patched, making a smoother ride for commuters Tuesday morning.

Toledoans properly expect city workers to do their job, but citizens must do theirs too. Drivers can look out for each other by reporting the car-eating potholes they see. Call the city at 419-936-BUMP or make an online pothole report at toledo.oh.gov.



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