Pothole Palooza launched to patch Seattle’s crumbling pavement

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the city Department of Transportation are launching Pothole Palooza, a 10-day pothole-patching blitz meant to patch the city’s streets after an especially rainy, cold winter.

Seattle’s festively named road-patching efforts have segued from teams of Pothole Rangers to a 10-day surge dubbed Pothole Palooza.

On Tuesday, Mayor Ed Murray and Scott Kubly, director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), patched a promotional pothole as they kicked off their palooza, an effort to patch crumbling streets and to get citizens to report troublesome potholes.

An unusually rainy and cold winter — the wettest February and March in Seattle history — has left the city’s approximately 4,000 miles of paved road more pothole pocked than usual.

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“Anywhere you have a crack in the pavement, water can get in and then when it gets cold it freezes and a pothole pops up,” Kubly said. “As trucks and buses and cars drive over that, it starts vibrating and you get a pothole. They are like flowers in springtime.”

Kubly said he named the patching push Pothole Palooza to bring attention to it and to get more people to report pothole complaints.

The city has three ways for citizens to report potholes: You can call in a report at 206-386-1218, you can use the city’s Find it, Fix it mobile app or you can use the city’s online pothole reporting portal.

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Kubly said that SDOT has gotten twice as many pothole reports this spring as it normally gets. The department aims to fix potholes within three days after they’re reported, a goal that it says it hit 83 percent of the time in February, when it fixed about 3,700 potholes.

Because, Murray said, pothole complaints are typically made much more frequently in wealthy neighborhoods, SDOT crews will also focus on fixing potholes on all the city’s arterial roadways.

Seattle, Murray said, can “be inclusive even about how we do our potholes.”

It’s not the first publicized effort to fix the city’s potholes. In 1997, the city bought four trucks fitted with special boxes to keep patching asphalt hot, and dubbed the crews Pothole Rangers.

Former Mayor Greg Nickels ran, in part, on fixing potholes and touted his progress on his website. His successor, Mike McGinn

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