Portland’s pothole problem: The fixes underway and the frustrati - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland’s pothole problem: The fixes underway and the frustrations drivers are facing

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A pothole in downtown Portland. A pothole in downtown Portland.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

People don’t have to look very far to find a pothole in the Portland area these days, thanks in part to the nasty weather this past winter.

Crews with the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Oregon Bureau of Transportation took advantage of the dry weather Thursday to make repairs on problem spots along I-5, 99W, Highway 43, Northwest 23rd and Northwest Burnside, among other areas.

PBOT had t10 crews out Thursday, working on six busy roads and four residential streets. Forty people were also working on the paving project underway on NW Burnside.

In city limits alone, the agency fixes an average of 8,000 potholes every year at a cost of between $500,000 and $800,000. But with this year’s unusual weather, spokesperson John Brady estimated that number to be even higher.

According to PBOT’s website, it’s facing a backlog of 1,000 potholes.

This interactive map shows the progress being made under PBOT’s Patch-A-Thon program, which assigns extra crews specifically to pothole repairs.

But for drivers like Fred Auerbach, the problem can’t be fixed soon enough.

“I’m looking out going the speed limit and I see a darker area to the left of the midline in the road. By the time I get there my car bottoms out in the left front, I hear a thud, the tire pressure monitoring system goes on and I knew I blew a tire,” Auerbach told Fox 12, recalling his experience on January 9.

But for Auerbach, that was just the beginning.

That episode on I-5 near Jantzen Beach not only blew out the one tire - both of his left tires were ruined and he had to pay for a tow. Then, just two weeks later, a pothole on the Jefferson Street onramp to westbound Highway 26 blew out his two right tires. Again, he was on the hook for two new tires and a tow, making his out-of-pocket expenses add up to $1,500.

He says potholes are aren’t just frustrating - and expensive - for drivers like him; he worries about what may happen if someone on two wheels hits a bad one and never sees it coming.

“Bicyclists, motorcyclists, somebody’s going to die here,” he added. “I’m an emergency doctor and surgeon and I’ve seen plenty of road accidents and these are setups for liability for the city, the county, whoever.”

Complicating matters, crews need dry weather to properly repair and seal the roadway, and lately, Mother Nature hasn’t been giving them many opportunities to get the job done.

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