‘It’s frustrating’: Pothole problems plaguing Richmond

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Potholes are not a new problem, but as the weather warms up, more and more cars are trying to avoid hitting them throughout Richmond. 

People are frustrated, paying out tons of cash to fix their damaged cars.

Richmond’s Department of Public Works told 8News that crews repair hundreds of potholes daily, but residents are concerned they aren’t getting fixed fast enough. 

“Frustrating,” said East End resident Paul Granger. 

Just one of many words Richmond residents use to describe potholes plaguing the city. 

Potholes are not a new problem, but as the weather warms up, more and more cars are trying to avoid hitting them throughout Richmond. 

Cars, trucks and GRTC buses struggle to move around large potholes, which are sometimes filled with rocks and water. “There’s no reason a hole especially one that size is on such a widely traveled road,” said Granger. 

Last week, Granger was driving his family van when he encountered a pothole at 31st and S streets.

“The front tire on the passenger’s side ended up going into the hole,” said Granger.  “I could hear it bang.”

Granger pulled over and inspected the van. 

“This undercarriage piece, all the bolts had been pulled out and it was dragging on the ground,” said Granger. 

In December, Richmond City Council unanimously passed a resolution asking Mayor Levar Stoney to use $2 million of surplus money for more sidewalk repairs.

But a resolution isn’t binding law. 

The administration told the city council Monday about the plan for the money. 

“They said they are rolling that fund balance into next year’s budget,” said Richmond City Council member Kristen Larson. “The problem is we have needs now. We’re sitting on that money. That money is being held hostage.”

So far this year the Richmond Department of Public Works has repaired 6,832 potholes. In 2018, DPW fixed 25,623 potholes. 

Potholes are not a new problem, but as the weather warms up, more and more cars are trying to avoid hitting them throughout Richmond. 

North and south crews repair 200  potholes daily.  “DPW purchased two pothole repair trucks that require only one employee,” said DPW public information manager Sharon North. “The truck has a mechanical arm that can expel air with sufficient pressure to remove water from a pothole. It then layers in all of the materials needed to make a permanent repair. On average it takes about 10 minutes per pothole.”

North said crews repair potholes throughout the year. DPW starts with main roads before moving on to residential areas. 

“This is a reoccurring problem in the East End of Richmond,” said Granger.  “So I wonder if the ways that the roads are being built and these roads are often torn up and put together for different reasons. I wonder if there is a better way…a more sustainable way to build the roads.”  

Mayor Stoney pledged in his budget address Wednesday, over $16 million for sidewalks and streets, that includes the $2 million city council wanted to use this year.

Residents can call the city attorney to file a damage claim by calling 804-646-7940.

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