Portland filled 4,500 potholes so far this year, but potholes are 'symptom' of failing streets

Portland filled 4,500 potholes so far this year, but potholes are 'symptom' of failing streets

Road crews filled more than 4,500 potholes across Portland so far this year, according to city officials, but that doesn't mean streets will be any less bumpy or in significantly better condition overall.

"While patching potholes is a fundamental part of PBOT's maintenance work, it's not the most cost effective or strategic approach," Dylan Rivera, Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman said in a statement.

Nearly one-third of those road hazards were filled in a two-week span last month, as crews patched some 1,445 potholes at more than 350 locations across town.

This year's winter weather provided a reprieve compared with the snow that dominated 2017. Last year, crews filled more than 15,000 potholes, almost double the typical workload.

"Potholes are a symptom of a failing street," Rivera said. "They can be prevented with regular preventive maintenance that keeps the pavement in fair or better condition."

Dating to the Charlie Hales and Steve Novick era, Portland transportation officials have set a goal of 100 lane miles of annual paving and preventative maintenance. Rivera said the agency tracks the progress based on the fiscal year from July to June.

"We accomplished the 100 miles just a few weeks after June 30, 2017, which is amazing given all the potholes and snow and ice response our crews had to deal with in the first half of 2017," he said in an email.

Just how bad are Portland's roads right now?

According to its most recent report published in October, 47 percent of major roads are in poor or very poor condition. Residential streets are worse, with 60 percent of the 2,983 lane miles of local roads in poor or very poor condition.

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