By Kiet Do

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The San Jose City Council is set to vote on a sweeping funding package for road maintenance which, if passed, would for the first time in more than a decade fully fund the pavement maintenance program by the 2019-20 fiscal year.

The majority of the funding comes from voter-approved Measure T, which will pump in $300 million for 388 miles of local and neighborhood roads.

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“We’re going to finally get back to residential streets and pave them for the first time since 2012. And, over the course of the next 9 years, we’re aiming to get to all residential streets in the city and bring the quality of our whole road network up,” said Colin Heyne, spokesperson for the Department of Transportation.

The council vote comes on the heels of one of the wettest winters on record, with multiple “atmospheric rivers” causing a sharp spike in requests for pothole repairs across the city of San Jose.

In response, the Department of Transportation has diverted manpower to the repairs, increasing the total number of full-time crews to seven. In comparison, during drier seasons there is usually only one crew working. Each crew consists of two to three workers, who fill as many as 120 potholes per day.

The crews typically respond within 48 hours to 95 percent of pothole complaints reported on the MySanJose app. However, not all potholes can be repaired by the emergency crews — especially if there is extensive wear or damage to the road. By year end, the DOT estimates they will fill 11,000 potholes.

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Drivers who hit potholes and suffer damage to their vehicles can file a claim with the city attorney’s office. The claim must be filed within six months of the incident and contain proper documentation, such as receipts.

In January, Kaela Louie, a San Jose State student, struck a series of potholes in the southbound middle lane of Capitol Avenue, just south of Trimble Road. The force of the impact flattened her front right tire and the total cost of the repair was $300. Louie was frustrated at the city’s claims process, which requires printing out a hard copy two-page form, filling out the information by hand and then dropping off or mailing the forms to the City Attorney’s office.

“I feel there should be an easier way to do that or get in contact with somebody. Or they could just fix the road,” said Louie.

City attorney Rick Doyle, whose office processes those claims, said the requested documentation is required by state law. But Doyle agrees that an all-electronic process would be more efficient for all parties. He doesn’t think it would have an impact on the overall number of claims that are filed.

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The city council vote on the pavement maintenance funding takes place at the next meeting on March 12, 2019.