We took some of the data published by the City and put them in a graphic (below), so you can see, how pothole repairs have evolved over the years. We also wanted to see, if pavement management impacts the cost of repairing potholes.
How Does the City find Potholes?
There are 2 ways for the City to find its potholes: City maintenance crews recording pothole locations while they are out on jobs or citizens reporting potholes to the City.
In an effort to make it easier for citizens to participate in the repair effort, Columbus incorporated social media for reporting potholes. If you find a pothole, you can report it on facebook, twitter (@ColumbusDPS), and by contacting the 311 service center.
In case you use mobile devices, the City reminds citizens NOT to tweet potholes while driving. Makes sense!
Now let’s see how costly Columbus resurfacing and pothole filling projects are.
According to the City, the pothole project does not cost taxpayers any extra money, because they have assigned staff that’s already employed. The pothole patching patrols also work on snow removal, street cleaning and mowing, as well as alley surface treatment. The City does not specify how many crews they need to accomplish the job.
With the cost of asphalt at around $75 per ton and the total number of potholes that need to be filled at 190,000, the average cost to patch one pothole is only $1.68. This does not include labor, but it seems really cheap.
The chart below shows how the overall cost of pothole repairs in Columbus has dropped over the past few years to less than $320,000 (red). That’s the cost of asphalt and does not include labor.
At the same time the City was able to increase the number of potholes repaired to 190,196 in 2011 (blue). This is substantial improvement of 42% as compared to the previous year.
The City reports that they fixed 12,646 potholes in just 2 weeks. This is fewer than in previous years, because the City invested heavily in street resurfacing since 2010. The warmer winter certainly helped, as there was less damage from snow plowing.
Pavement Resurfacing and Road Construction
Columbus goes way beyond filling potholes when it comes to roadway maintenance. As a matter of fact the City proposed the largest-ever budget to resurface and rebuild numerous streets. It includes $31 million for resurfacing, $6 million for sidewalks and another $6.4 million for bike trails.
I plan to review details of this budget and how it relates to pavement management activities in an upcoming post.
How does this activity in Columbus compare to your community? Leave a comment to let us know!