BEND, OR -- Bend crews are trying to get a jump on spring road repairs, after thawing over the last couple months revealed thousands of potholes. Bend Streets Division Manager Chuck Swann says crews have already used more than 100 tons of material to patch about 2,300 potholes since January, compared to just under 2,600 holes filled in all of last year.
After residents complained about the condition of local roads, last year, City Council authorized funds to pay for a dedicated pothole crew. Swann says similar efforts will commence as the weather warms. "Last year, we took a proactive approach and took some of our preservation money and had a pothole-dedicated crew for about 2.5-3 months. We’re going to do the same thing as soon as the hot plants open up full time, and try to patch these potholes with a hot mix, which lasts – in some cases – a couple years." When it’s too cold for hot mix, Swann says they use a cold patch. But, that can last less than 24-hours, depending on traffic volume and the condition of the surrounding roadway.
He says the key to smooth driving is attacking the problem on several fronts. "Of course, have our service requests and our policy is to address potholes within 48 hours after we’re notified," Swann tells KBND News. "The other approach is to hit every street and try to be proactive and find them. We have one crew that’s going to be dedicated to it, but that doesn’t mean we won’t pull other crews off to address that 48-hour policy."
However, despite their best efforts, Swann says his crews can only do so much. "In some cases, some of our troubled roads are roads that are beyond a maintenance repair. They need capital improvement-type repairs, which are the big dollars. We don’t really want to dump a lot of our maintenance dollars, which we were trying to put into our pavement preservation. We’re trying to patch these together until a big capital project can be developed."