Since January, city crews have filled almost 16,400 potholes, according to data the Register obtained through a public records request.
Officials contend no winter season proved more problematic for commuters battling potholes than this past one. For comparison, a year ago, city crews filled in about 14,000 potholes.
“This has been (in 2014) our worst year,” said Sandusky street foreman Art Straub, who has worked in the department for about 35 years.
Nice recent stretches of warm weather have accelerated the turnaround time in which city crews can patch a pothole.
Thus far in May, crews have tended to 6,500 potholes, equating to about 40 percent of all potholes addressed in Sandusky during 2014.
City taxpayers, meanwhile, have fronted almost $52,000 to date just on pothole patching. The money goes toward materials and time, be it regular or overtime, employees need to fix potholes.
“Every one of those dollars could have been spent in other areas,” city commissioner Dick Brady said. “We are asking every department to reduce their expenses, and then we are forced to blow through $50,000 in street repairs. But the reality is that this is Ohio. We are going to have years like this”
Patching potholes should remain a priority at least through June, coinciding with Ohio Bike Week invading Erie County and downtown Sandusky.
“In another week, we will have 10,000 bikers traveling our streets,” Brady said. “Just imagine a motorcycle encountering a pothole or a series of potholes. The result could be tragic”
Street workers must quickly fix potholes when notified by community members of their whereabouts.
If workers neglect these requests, then community members sustaining damage or injury from a previously reported pothole can receive a reimbursement — or possibly sue the city — for their troubles.
“Our residents should have a reasonable expectation that when they travel on our streets, they will not have the fillings in their teeth knocked out,” Brady said.
Spot a pothole?
Sandusky officials welcome community members to contact their offices so they can fill potholes:
•EMAIL: art.straub@ ci.sandusky.oh.us or firstname.lastname@example.org
City crews will first fill potholes based on the most severe ones they know about.
They’ll then address potholes based on which ones were reported first.