While the threat of sub-zero temperatures, icy roadways and winter weather advisories have become a recent memory, Central Ohio motorists are facing an uncovered obstacle as spring rolls around: potholes.
A lot of potholes.
This month, the Columbus Department of Public Service set its street maintenance crews to work in an effort to address the pothole epidemic that sprung up during this winter’s record-setting snowfall.
Rick Tilton, the assistant director of the Columbus Department of Public Service, said the intensified pothole repair effort is expected to last one month.
“We’re going to be working 24/7 this week and next week,” Tilton said March 20. “Between April 1 and April 14, we’ll have crews working 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week.”
He also noted that street maintenance crews are set to log additional overnight hours Sundays through Wednesdays during the second half of the project.
Though he did not comment on the specific costs of the project, Tilton said the work is subsidized under the street maintenance fund, which comes from the income taxes levied on Columbus residents.
As of March 20, Tilton said his records showed that 4,493 potholes had been fixed citywide since the effort began.
While progress is being made, Tilton stressed the success of the project is dependent on the participation of the city’s residents.
“We’re asking people to call (614) 645-3111 to report potholes. We’re depending on people to tell us where the potholes are so we can get out there and fix them within three days,” he said.
In addition to calling the phone number, residents can report potholes through the Facebook page for the Columbus Department of Public Service or through its Twitter account, @ColumbusDPS.
Jennifer Mayer, a fourth-year student in public affairs, said many students are likely unaware of the option to report potholes to the city. She said she doesn’t think the city does enough to prevent potholes from happening.
“I know a lot of potholes are caused after harsh weather, and I think the city doesn’t know how to deal with really bad weather,” she said.
Some students have concerns about the state of the roads.
“It’s awful,” said Eric Caudill, a fourth-year in atmospheric sciences. “The asphalt is older — it makes it really bad and potholes just come up everywhere.”
A Columbus native, Caudill considers the campus area to be among the worst areas in the city when it comes to pothole problems.
“I am from the southwest side of town and we don’t have nearly as many problems with potholes,” he said. “Some of the places on Summit and Fourth (streets) are just torn up.”
Nicole Hernandez, a spokeswoman for OSU Administration and Planning, said students can report potholes to the university by calling (614) 292-HELP.
“If the pothole is located on a campus roadway, our Facilities Operations and Development Landscape Services crews will address the pothole,” Hernandez said in an email Wednesday. “If the pothole is determined to be located on a city roadway, the information is shared with the city of Columbus.”
Hernandez said the costs of pothole repair at OSU was not immediately available as of Wednesday but will be ready next week.