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Chicago potholes are once again causing terrifying commuting for residents. Some might say that Chicago’s potholes are the worst in the country.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) claims that their street repair crew fills some 3,800 miles of streets riddled with holes all year round. They consider December through April to be pothole season.
CDOT’s website indicates that they use various techniques to fill hundreds of thousands of potholes every year. Those methods include:
- Computerized mapping and tracking of potholes reported to the City’s 311 system
- Seven-day-a-week deployment of pothole repair crews during the winter months, including weekend crews and an overnight crew
- The use of high-performance cold-patch asphalt material for pothole repairs during the winter months and hot mix asphalt in spring, summer, and fall.
Repaired Potholes Unearthed
Many residents that live on the South Side of Chicago shared with us that repairs are being implemented, but many of the repairs are being uprooted by snowplows. During snow removal on the city streets, those high-performance asphalt materials are being scraped up by those snowplows along with the snow.
When the winter season passes, many of the same potholes that Chicago had the previous year along with a few additional ones are present. Residents believe that heavy trucks and industrial tractors that are allowed to travel down Chicago streets and avenues are the creators of many of these craters.
The CDOT believes that they are created by the freeze and thaw cycle. This contraction and expansion of the pavement combined with vehicular traffic and melted water cause pavement deterioration and the creation of potholes.
From one day to the next, crews state that it is difficult to determine how many holes can be repaired based on weather conditions. On days when weather is cooperative and there is no precipitation, crews can fill several thousand holes.
New Green Industry Reduces Environmental Hazards
There is a new green industry product made by Cofire that is making its way to the midwest. Their product called GreenPatch reduces environmental hazards that are found in materials used in filling potholes. This GreenPatch pothole product is cost-effective and very durable for repairs.
Traditional asphalt mixtures are made up of stone, sand, and some liquid to bond the ingredients along with petroleum products and other substances that are known human carcinogens. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority are looking closely at other cold-weather climate alternative materials with the desire to reduce emissions of pollutants.
Brian Steele, a representative for CDOT stated:
This is the first year we have been contacted by the ‘green’ manufacturers.
They are looking at reviews that show how the products have performed elsewhere and the price per ton. Gleen Shapiro Cofire’s chief of product development and marketing shares that GreenPatch uses biodegradable plant-based solvents instead of fuel.
What Can I Do?
What can be done if potholes are spotted? CDOT asks that residents call 311 to report them. Residents are asked to provide the 311 operators with the exact address where the damaged streets can be located. It will take 3-6 days for the CDOT crew to respond to requests, weather permitting.
A major concern of Chicago motorists is what happens if my vehicle is damaged by a pothole? The Chicago City Clerk’s Office intakes vehicle damage claims. Visit www.chicityclerk.com or call (312) 744-6861
Written by Omari Jahi
Chicago: Pothole repairs
The University of Chicago Press Journals: The Politics of Potholes: Service Quality and Retrospective Voting in Local Elections; by Craig M. Burnett and Vladimir Kogan
ABC 7 Chicago: Potholes damaging cars on Chicago streets
Chicago Tribune: ‘Green’ industry targets pesky potholes; by Jon Hilkevitch
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