The Wall Street Journal reported on the perilous number of potholes plaguing St. Paul roads this season.
St. Paul has received over 250 pothole-related claims so far this year, more than the 85 total claims made in 2022. The median cost of the claims was $800, the WSJ reported.
Much to the relief of residents, St. Paul opened its asphalt plant last week, which closes during the winter, to begin patching the potholes. They began filling the potholes on Thursday. Maintenance crews will be able to focus exclusively on potholes now that the snow is melting.
St. Paul Public Works Director Sean Kershaw said during a Thursday press conference to announce the opening of the asphalt plant that the roads are “failing” more rapidly than public works can fix them.
The press conference was also used to promote the city’s sales tax increase proposal to help pay for road repairs.
“The challenge is, when you fill a pothole, what you have is a pothole,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said. The goal will be for city workers to “stop chasing potholes” and instead look to rebuild the roads, he explained.
Kershaw said the city will be working all summer to repair potholes. “Our goal is to get the ones that emerged this winter filled in the next month or two,” he said, noting that crews will focus on the most dangerous potholes first.
“This is the worst season for potholes we’ve ever had because of the weather we had this winter and because of the age of our streets so it will take longer,” he said.
Some of the potholes are deep enough that old streetcar rails and pavers are exposed.
Old streetcar rail and pavers normally buried beneath asphalt — but visible in a pothole today along Smith Avenue on St. Paul’s West Side pic.twitter.com/lJhYC9SoYG
— Andrew Krueger (@akpix) March 9, 2023
The potholes are so bad in some areas that city officials temporarily lowered the speed limit from 50 to 35 miles per hour.
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