Oakland Fixes 5,200 Potholes In Summer ‘Road Repair Blitz’

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Street repair crews repaired more than 5,200 potholes in Oakland during a two-month effort this summer that included working overtime and through weekends, city transportation officials said Thursday.

Crews also made about 7,300 square feet of minor street repairs, milled and paved more than 1.6 miles of streets, crack-sealed more than 13 city blocks and made 1,650 square feet of base repairs, according to city officials.

Leaders of the city’s new Department of Transportation said they’ve named the city’s annual road fix program “the Road Repair Blitz” instead of “the Pothole Blitz” to reflect a more comprehensive effort to improve the city’s roads.

Transportation officials said crews perform street maintenance and pothole patching throughout the year, but for seven weeks during the annual blitz a special focus of resources bolsters those efforts by having crews spend one week each in the seven city council districts.

The city said so far in 2017 pothole crews have repaired more than 15,000 potholes, which is almost as many as in all of 2016, and crews are on pace to fill another 5,000 potholes by the end of the year and reach a goal of 20,000.

Although pothole repair work and other short-term repairs will continue the rest of the year, Department of Transportation officials said they are now shifting their focus to reinforce that short-term work with the more expensive, long-term work of repaving Oakland’s roads.

“This year’s blitz provided record-breaking results, and it marks the latest step forward in a time of important changes for Oakland transportation,” Department of Transportation Director Ryan Russo said in a statement.

Russo said, “As a determined new department, we are working to turn the tide on our street conditions. The Department of Transportation is bringing innovative tactics, new resources and the immense dedication of our growing street repair crews to the whole city, and we’re providing results.”

City officials said Oakland has a backlog of about $443 million in needed street repairs as traditional state and federal sources of infrastructure maintenance funding stagnated or diminished and the cost of repaving materials skyrocketed.

In last November’s election, 82 percent of Oakland voters approved Measure KK, a bond measure which over the next decade will provide $350 million in bond funds to address that backlog.

Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “While necessary in the short term, filling potholes is just a Band-Aid approach.”

Schaaf said, “Many Oakland roads need complete reconstruction or at least resurfacing, and thanks to the generosity of the voters who approved Measure KK, the Department of Transportation and the hardworking crews out doing this work every day, we’re on our way to fulfilling our goal of filling 20,000 potholes this year and moving forward with the long-term work of repaving Oakland’s roads.”

Oakland officials said community members can call (510) 615-5566 to report potholes and other infrastructure needs.

© Copyright 2017 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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