‘POTHOLE PALOOZA’: SDOT promises to ‘aggressively repair potholes across the city’

Back when we were talking about crumbling 35th SW, Sarah sent that photo from similarly pockmarked Delridge, saying, “This is the southbound 120 bus stop at Delridge and Juneau. It has actually gotten worse since i first reported it a month ago. The road is literally washing away under the concrete.” We had been saving it for a Delridge-specific story – and then on Tuesday, noticed this crew fixing it:

Now, SDOT has just announced a road-repair campaign it’s calling “Pothole Palooza“:

Seattle is kicking off Pothole Palooza on Monday, April 17, a campaign to aggressively repair potholes across the city. Beginning today, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is asking community members to report neighborhood potholes so we can map them out as our Pothole Rangers move throughout the city.

There are three ways to report potholes:

*Calling our Pothole and Street Repair hotline, 206-386-1218
*Using the Find It Fix It App
*Filling out our online Pothole Report form

During the campaign, SDOT crews will be assigned to specific districts around the city. SDOT Crews will be joined by crews from Seattle Parks and Recreation, who will assist with these efforts.

“We recognize that residents have been patient through a tough winter that’s resulted in an increased number of potholes and we want them to know that we’re listening when they report them,” said SDOT Director Scott Kubly. “You’ve told us where they are, and we are marshaling our resources to fill them.”

Potholes occur when street pavement cracks and breaks because of water and vehicle traffic. During winter months, water can cause the material under the pavement to erode, freeze and expand, and then thaw and contract causing the pavement to sink down and break. Many streets, particularly in the outer areas of the city, have a very poor underlying structure, or sub base, which reacts poorly to these conditions. This freeze/thaw cycle can cause the pavement to crack so that it deteriorates quickly under the weight of traffic, and then streets can seem to break out in potholes overnight.

Guess that’s a new way to describe us, an “outer area of the city.” Anyway, the map of potholes the city shows as filled, and waiting, can be seen here.

37 Replies to "'POTHOLE PALOOZA': SDOT promises to 'aggressively repair potholes across the city'"

  • Mark April 12, 2017 (6:23 pm)

    Repairing pot holes is a band aid.  What the City needs to do is spend more money to MAINTAIN the streets and less money reducing street capacity.

    It is far more cost effective to MAINTAIN streets than to do spot improvements.  

  • Chris April 12, 2017 (8:03 pm)

    Wouldn’t repairing streets by fixing potholes be the same thing as maintaining the streets? And, if reducing capacity reduces the number of cars on the road – then wouldn’t that help with the longevity of the street?

    • Evil twin April 12, 2017 (8:26 pm)

      I don’t know anyone that sold their car because of decreased capacity. Still the same amount of people and same amount of cars so it’s probably actually worse being concentrated onto one lane instead of two. Maybe better mass transit would help lower the number of cars pounding the pavement. However, just like I-5 heavy vehicles create ruts, etc.

      they should re-pave with concrete instead of cheap asphalt. It lasts way longer.

      • chemist April 13, 2017 (8:18 am)

        Damage to roads isn’t linear with axle weight, at least with regular rubber tires.  It’s truly the much-heavier vehicles that “damage” the road.

        It’s like setting a 1 lb weight in a paper grocery bag vs a 20 lb weight in that same bag.  The 1 lb weight never stresses the bag enough to actually tear/break the internal structure.

  • Alan April 12, 2017 (8:25 pm)

    Those concrete slabs don’t qualify as potholes, though I still report them that way. They get moved into a larger project bucket because they have to break out the slab and re-pour it. The good news is that it is a much better fix than an asphalt patch. The bad news is that they seem to take a while to get done. 16th Ave SW has numerous sections, especially between the College and Holden that need to be replaced.

    • Evil twin April 12, 2017 (9:09 pm)

      Yeah I don’t know much about the subject per se. It just seems that the panels hold up better. I understand that they are probably more labor intensive and costly. I just wonder if doing it right the first time with concrete is better overall. 

  • r o April 12, 2017 (8:27 pm)

    you should see all the pot holes on the 24th and 25th sw barton st . 

  • bolo April 12, 2017 (9:01 pm)

    Pothole rangers try hard but seem to be overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the problem. Example (from the sdot.gov “Pothole Status Map”: for SYLVAN WAY SW BETWEEN HIGH POINT DR SW AND SW SYLVAN HEIGHTS DR, they filled 136(!) potholes between 2/28 – 4/8. Yet the results????? I just passed thru there this afternoon and that stretch is more pothole than pavement! Even worse at that intersection at the bottom, between Home Depot and the Arco station (19 potholes filled between 2/4 – 3/3).

    SDOT says Pothole Rangers will aggressively repair potholes for this Pothole Palooza campaign. How can they possibly do more than they normally do? They didn’t seem to be slacking before but SDOT is evidently intimating this?

    • WSB April 12, 2017 (9:06 pm)

      Well, for one, they are adding Parks crews to help, according to the announcement.

      • dsa April 12, 2017 (11:57 pm)

        Parks probably does not have the equipment to do a lasting job from what I’m seeing from another crew I watched that was independent from “pothole rangers”.  These potholes need proper cleaning, tacking and are done best with hot mix not cold.

    • Alan April 12, 2017 (9:30 pm)

      Sylvan Way is horrible. I drive like I’m drunk and in the bike lane (when there are no bikes) half of the time trying to protect my tires, wheels, and back.

      • Flo Boynton April 13, 2017 (10:24 am)

        I would concur about the Sylvan Way road non repair. I drive the same way and have to be careful about bikes and the best way to avoid all the cracks and potholes. It is in sore need of repairs.

    • Trickycoolj April 13, 2017 (8:14 am)

      I drive that stretch daily to and from work. It’s like an obstacle course and I probably look like a drunk driver too. Some of the holes down by Home Depot swallow orange cones when they open up they’re so deep! Maybe we can file a petition, it worked for the wealthy folks on Beach Drive.  

      • WSB April 13, 2017 (8:18 am)

        Before we get back into class warfare, please note that one short stretch of Beach Drive was repaved (as has also been done on short stretches of other roads including 35th) and a far longer stretch – which, trust me as we drive it frequently on rounds, is as bumpy and rutty as many other West Seattle road stretches – remains unaddressed.

        • Alan April 13, 2017 (11:03 am)

          True. Also, though Sylvan Way goes through a more financially challenged area, it is actually heavily used by traffic going to and from the less financially challenged side of West Seattle. It is part of the traffic stream that includes that 16th/Holden/Highland Park Way mess. Just because the problem exists in one neighborhood shouldn’t make it the neighborhood’s problem. To the degree that it discourages that route, maybe it being a nightmare isn’t such a bad thing.

          • Trickycoolj April 13, 2017 (12:39 pm)

            The only egress from my street is Sylvan without driving through High Point and using snake hill or the now under construction Graham & 35th death trap. Thankfully my street exits on the only recently paved section of Sylvan, it’s atrocious to commute to the South Park Bridge daily and why when I was car shopping I decided to upgrade from a low  riding Honda Fit to something with AWD and ground clearance. Snoqualmie ski area has better maintained parking lots than some sections of Sylvan Way. 

  • AMD April 12, 2017 (9:06 pm)

    The repairs they did on Roxbury just a few weeks ago are already coming apart and the potholes are back.  It’s like plucking grey hairs; you take care of one and three replace it…

    Also, agreed about how bad the concrete on 16th is getting.  There’s a slab right across from the college that tips 6-8″ up and down when cars drive over it, presumably because so much has washed out from beneath it.  Pretty scary.

  • Brian April 12, 2017 (9:19 pm)

    SDOT: Please just have the rangers start on one end of Delridge and work their way to the other end. Thanks for the help!

    • DarkHawke April 13, 2017 (1:58 pm)

      AMEN!  It was a telling thing on last night’s KIRO news that they showed video of a trip down Delridge during their report about this “pothole patrol” initiative!

  • John Frog April 12, 2017 (9:41 pm)

    Come on SDOT. The easiest way to say it for 35th Ave SW, is to Start at Roxbury, go NORTH, and repair all of the potholes on the road until you
    get to SW Avalon Way.

  • West Coast Nomad April 12, 2017 (9:48 pm)

    I’m glad the city is making an effort–at least we’re being heard and taken more seriously. But yes, what’s the cost benefit analysis of all the patching and re-patching versus doing major road repair?

    As more and more people move here, and as traffic keeps getting reduced to single lanes, and as we get more winters like the last one, going forward that all calls for more road maintenance than we used to require. And that will be the case whether it’s buses, big trucks, single occupancy vehicles, carpools, Ubers, taxis or vanpools, etc. using the roads. 

  • Dale April 12, 2017 (9:57 pm)

    Pothole Rangers only provide a band-aid.  I’ve reported multiple, significant, tire flattening  4 inch or deeper holes in the middle of heavily traveled streets in South Park, multiple times.  They do a repair in a timely manner, and it is back with a vengeance within a month.  SDOT – get a clue, and stop wasting our tax money on appeasement, to make concerned citizens go away temporarily.  The taxpayers of South Park and West Seattle are not morons, and deserve respect and results.

  • DirkDigs April 13, 2017 (7:56 am)

    As others have said, patching is a temporary fix only. And it isn’t cheap. We need innovative solutions to this city’s issues and this pothole project is an example of “more of the same”.

  • Trickycoolj April 13, 2017 (8:05 am)

    Reported 17 potholes on the uphill side of Sylvan (I later counted 2 dozen in just the one lane) between Home Depot and the Cemetery. Looks like they tried to fill them yesterday but it’s pretty much asphalt cobblestone now. Have seen surveyors out at Sylvan and Delridge next to the police station the last two days, wondering if they’re planning on fixing that mess. 

    Ive spent a lot of time in Grays Harbor County lately and it’s incredible how smooth the roads are even if the Chehalis River washes them out every few years. 

    • Trickycoolj April 13, 2017 (8:17 am)

      Just after writing that comment I filed a find it fix it report about the mess on Sylvan next to the police station and arco. The report was already “closed” did they fill it in the last 10 minutes? I really wonder how many reports from find it fix it really go through? Oh another for Sylvan Way? We fixed one of two dozen yesterday! Closed. 

  • Mr. B April 13, 2017 (8:32 am)

    This is what happens when we elect people based on “what feels good” instead of people with real management experience.  City governance should be about infrastructure and public safety… not social justice and fighting pipelines in other states.  Result?  We have a city woefully unprepared to address the problems of a rapidly growing economy and population.  

    What can we do?  VOTE!  Stop reelecting the same people over and over again.   There’s a reason our roads are in terrible condition, THEY DON’T CARE.  

  • Tomas April 13, 2017 (8:57 am)

    Man I couldn’t agree more with the comments of starting at roxbury and just going north up Delridge and 35th!!! Can our folks at WSB make that recommendation to the city?

  • Sea Of Holes April 13, 2017 (9:14 am)

    SDOT doesn’t have the resources it needs to take care of the roads in Seattle.   I love that the short term solution is to use Parks resources.  Parks, who might leave the arson damaged bathrooms at Riverview Playfelds for us all to appreciate for six more years.  How about a sustainable answer?

    Pothole Palooza!  I appreciate SDOTs bringing some humor and getting er done,  but we need to get real about what it takes to maintain city of this size and create a progressively generated tax base. 

  • annaeileen April 13, 2017 (9:20 am)

    We had a large pothole in front of our house fixed and 3 days later it crumbled into a large mess. I reported it but it hasn’t been fixed yet.  My fear is the same thing will happen with this Potehole Palooza  drive.  We  are going to get more rain and possible various changes in temperature all spring so won’t that impact their fixes? 

    I too look like a drunk driver on Delridge and around the Home Depot area.  I have complained about this before but I had to buy new tires last year and don’t want to again.  I am trying to find ways to not drive on Delridge and walk or run errands.

  • Boots April 13, 2017 (9:29 am)

    Good to hear. The condition of Delridge is embarrassing for a road that is used by so many. All I gotta say is you don’t this kind of condition in the residential areas of Ravenna!

    • Trickycoolj April 13, 2017 (12:35 pm)

      Well before they dug up Ravenna and replaced it completely it was scary too. A giant lake would form outside of my friend’s rental home near the I-5 interchange every time we had a significant rainfall and it’s been documented back to the 1950s! I think they finally fixed it after I left Northgate for West Seattle. 

  • waikikigirl April 13, 2017 (12:47 pm)

    We were driving to Home Depot the other day and a squirrel ran out in front of us and stepped right into a pothole and was never seen again…. all kidding aside I think the pothole crew is fixing a lot of holes but with the weather still being as terrible as it is the tar/blacktop doesn’t hold for very long and maybe should wait until the weather does get better. But when would that be?


  • Scott April 13, 2017 (1:23 pm)

    Lets take 35th for example.  If you look at the condition of the road where they made it one lane the road is very bad.  You have more vehicles driving on one lane. Now go look at the part of 35th that is still two lanes there seems to be no damage (pot holes) as the cars are now spread out over two lans. 

  • unknown April 13, 2017 (2:01 pm)

    @Scott….yes I agree but you have to remember the ROAD DIET is a good thing…cough, cough… by all studies and so on.

  • wsn00b April 14, 2017 (12:11 pm)

    Is there SDOT data/metrics that perhaps cover: 

    – How many times a certain stretch(like a block) has had pothole work re-done?

    – Average time spent over a block/pothole? 

    – Average cost of repair of a pothole?

    – Average annual expenditure and trends on Pothole repair?

  • bolo April 30, 2017 (11:21 am)

    Is POTHOLE PALOOZA over? Was it a success?

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