Sacramento County road workers are calling this Pothole Sweeps Week, a description of an all out effort to repair as many potholes as possible before the winter wet weather sets in.
Water is the enemy of worn roadways and waiting will make the damage worse.
“It wouldn’t just be one pothole here and there, the entire street would be potholes. You’d need a 4-wheel drive to get around town,” said Mike Garcia, a highway maintenance supervisor for Sacramento County.
A three-man crew made quick work of a pothole on Rampart Road in Carmichael, filling it in with asphalt and then using a gasoline powered machine to compress it into the one foot wide hole. On other streets smaller holes a shovel was used to compact the asphalt. And on areas with more damage a patch 15 feet long by six feet wide was used.
A better way to go would be to re-pave miles of streets that show severe cracking, but there isn’t enough money to keep up. Crews patch 40 thousand potholes a year with $2.5 million collected from part of the county’s share of the gasoline tax and a part of the sales tax.
Not all potholes are repaired because short-handed inspectors can’t find them all. The county relies on residents to help them out.
“The eyes and ears of the public are the most important thing to us. It allows us to be more responsive and more efficient,” said Garcia.
Their goal is to respond within 72 hours to a pothole report so it can be assessed. Potholes can be reported at the saccounty.net website, or residents can e-mail and leave a phone number if they want a response. Other kind of county problems can also be reported.