Chicago’s pothole problem sets new record in 2011

January 5, 2012 by  

Chicago motorists weren’t imagining things if it felt like they were running into more potholes than usual in 2011. More than 600,000 of the potential tire busters were filled in Chicago streets last year. That’s a 25 percent increase from 2010 when 568,426 potholes were repaired, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. Pothole repair in alleys jumped from 31,130 in 2010 to 47,452 potholes officials said.

In a city known for its erratic weather patterns and aging asphalt, it’s a pretty safe bet that the pothole problem isn’t going to let up in 2012, transportation department officials warned.

Filling potholes is a time consuming and costly process. The average motorist in the Chicago area coughs up an additional $340 annually in vehicle costs from poor road conditions, according to state and local data compiled by the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.

Poster printing warnings of untreated potholes could help steer motorists away from the craters and the damaging effects they can have on vehicles. Nearly one out of every four miles of Chicago area roads will be in unacceptable condition within five years if the current pattern continues, according to the coalition’s study.

Repair crews are having a tough time staying ahead of the many roadways in desperate need of repair or replacement Illinois roads are wearing out 33 percent faster than crews are able to fix them, based on figures released by the coalition.

Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein says the department is developing a new street resurfacing strategy intended to be more proactive in the way it handles the predictable annual eruption of potholes resulting from ongoing freeze-and-thaw cycles.