FOLLOWUP: Post-snow potholes swamp city with claims, already outnumbering last year’s total

During Monday’s weekly City Council briefing meeting, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda – the West Seattleite who holds citywide Position 8 – told her colleagues that the Department of Finance and Administrative Services was dealing with a high number of claims filed by pothole victims. We followed up with FAS to see just how high the stack was getting. Spokesperson Melissa Mixon looked into it and started her reply with one jaw-dropping, axle-busting stat: “The number of pothole claims for 2021 was 210 and the current count for 2022 is 300-plus.” She adds, “It is noteworthy though that pothole claims from the recent snowstorm already constitute approximately half of all our open claims.” The Risk Management division doesn’t have a geographic breakout, so we don’t know how many of those potholes are in West Seattle. SDOT does have a map showing fixed and reported potholes – here’s a screengrab:

Circles represent recently filled potholes; diamonds represent ones that are “pending.” You can report a pothole here. If you’ve sustained damage from one on a city road, here’s how to file a claim. We asked Mixon how that process works: Your claim is assigned to an adjuster. They reach out to the relevant city department (SDOT) in this case for a formal response. Then they can either close the claim for lack of contact or information, tender it (when another entity is responsible), deny it (if the city isn’t found negligent, or settle it.

17 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Post-snow potholes swamp city with claims, already outnumbering last year's total"

  • Midwest Baby February 8, 2022 (6:07 pm)

    Being raised in the midwest with plenty of snow and potholes, I have one question. When potholes are fixed at home in cold weather, the filler used doesn’t fail with 24 hours of being installed. What is the difference between the pothole filler being used in cold weather climates and here in Seattle?
    Comparing how windshield wiper fluid with antifreeze is the norm at home, but very difficult to find here. 

    • 1994 February 8, 2022 (10:37 pm)

      You bring up a good point Midwest Baby about the pothole filler flying out within days of being put down.  Seems like a waste of time and resources doesn’t it? The SDOT could use some efficiency ideas for their work to be better, smarter, and longer lasting.

      • blaughw February 9, 2022 (11:30 am)

        I have seen plenty of potholes filled where the surrounding asphalt is also heavily compromised but has not yet formed a crater.  Marine View Drive around 100th-107th is notable. 

  • Civil February 9, 2022 (5:15 am)

    I suspect that the issue on the short-lived patches are because they are using a cold patch asphalt mix which is meant only as a temporary fix. The cold patch mix doesn’t require all the expense and equipment of a more lasting hot mix asphalt patch. Crews may choose this temporary fix for many reasons, they could have repaving planned for a street in the near term, or they just needed something to fill the hole quickly until a hot mix asphalt patching crew is able to be scheduled to fill many holes at a time.

  • Dale February 9, 2022 (6:44 am)

    Gotta use that -20 Fahrenheit Fluid

  • rockergirl5678 February 9, 2022 (8:23 am)

    Would be great also if when construction crews tear up roads they actually replace and fix the road to the condition it was in previously. Many places have rough road due to this happening all over West Seattle . Example on Delridge – brand new roadway just put in – beautiful cement surface and it was torn out in areas where construction is happening and replaced with rough bumpy asphalt. Definitely hard on cars and a waste of taxpayer money! 

  • snowskier February 9, 2022 (8:36 am)

    How about continuing to fix the existing potholes before trying to install any more of the speed bumps on the minor arterials.  Or better yet, scrap the bumps and concentrate on the bridge reopening.  I think all of our suspensions have taken a beating on the poor quality city streets, lets stop trying to make them bumpier.

    • momosmom February 9, 2022 (2:30 pm)

      What I find strange with those speed bumps especially the ones on 35th Ave SW between Roxbury and 106th in the school zone is the sign says speed bumps ahead go 15 mph and 20 mph when children present???

  • Frustrated by SDOT February 9, 2022 (9:54 am)

    Maybe if the city direct SDOT to maintain the roads vs. just path working these potholes, the claims would be smaller. Granted, the snow storm didn’t help the situation. However, prior to the snow storm, how many potholes have we all tired to avoid in our daily drive? SDOT has wasted millions of dollars on pet projects while letting our bridges and roads fall into the current state. It’s time for a common sense approach, use SDOT limited funds to maintain our bridges and roads and stop these endless pet projects that benefits a few. Just an example, how many bike riders will truly use the propose bike lane along West Marginal Way? Don’t we already have a bike path that runs along the river? Seriously, stop attacking motorists by ignoring our poorly maintain bridges and roads.

    Also, we should copy Bellevue policy! When developers rip up our roads, they do a half ass job in repaving it. This also leads to a lot of potholes. The city need to have developers contribute to the maintenance of our roads. I think Bellevue has a policy where developers are required to contribute to their BDOT budget to maintaining their roads.

  • T Rex February 9, 2022 (9:55 am)

    The pot holes they fix in the summer do not last either. So they can blame the cold weather all they want, it is not true.I report pot holes all the time on the streets I travel and they are usually back two to three months after they are filled. Summer or Winter.

  • WS98 February 9, 2022 (10:03 am)

    How about we all start complaining/protesting about the real issue? Our infrastructure started to deteriorate with Reagan era huge tax cuts for corporations and wealthy people and let’s not forget the recent tRUMP slashes in 2017 of the corporate rate from 35 to 21 percent.  It’s not sustainable for the rest of us to carry the load, nor should we.  

    • Wseattleite February 9, 2022 (1:41 pm)

      Seattle does not have a revenue problem.  There is plenty of money there if they would focus on basic maintenance first.  

    • Lagartija Nick February 9, 2022 (2:07 pm)

      It’s also worth noting that around the same time Republicans slashed the amount of federal infrastructure dollars that went to the states. This forced the states to cut the amount of infrastructure dollars that went to the various municipalities for road maintenance, and well, here we are.

  • shotinthefoot February 9, 2022 (11:33 am)

    Driving in West Seattle now is straight out of ‘Escape from New York’ – my co-pilot is constantly directing me “LEFT!” “RIGHT!” Please, SDOT. Fix the roads here. We are begging you. 

  • CarDriver February 9, 2022 (12:24 pm)

    WS98. Do you really believe if “wealthy people and corporations” paid more taxes we would have good roads??? That’s an awfully big leap to believe that politicians would allocate the money appropriately and SDOT would actually spend it wisely.

  • Lola February 9, 2022 (12:29 pm)

    I second having the developers having to pay to repave the roads to decent condition.  Look at California Ave. we had most of that road totally redone years ago and almost immediately when they have to tear up the road they put in a patch that sinks almost right away making the roadway very bumpy.  They need to do a better job on the roads if they need to tear them up to put in their sewers.  I do at least 2 to 3 pothole e-mails a day as so many keep popping up.  I have even done the same ones quite a few times as the patch jobs are a joke done by the city.  They need to find a better product or they need to re-do the roads like they did over on 106th in West Seattle.  They at least did 1/2 the road on each side of 35th that will not crumble the way all of the patches have. 

  • Jort February 9, 2022 (1:32 pm)

    It is so amusing to see people think that somehow the financial and infrastructural death spiral of auotmobile dependency can somehow be “fixed.”  “Just make SDOT fix it!” This country is in for some extremely expensive, extremely difficult realizations in the decades to come. 

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