Apr 12, 2024 - News

All those pesky Columbus potholes, counted

An illustration of a pothole-filled road with a "drive with caution" sign

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It was a banner year for potholes in Columbus.

The big picture: City crews reported patching 18% more potholes this winter compared to last year.

🤬 Why it matters: Thud, grimace, sigh. Need we say more?

  • Even if your tire remains intact and you didn't spend hundreds of dollars on car repairs, the emotional toll of a direct hit is real.

By the numbers: The city reported filling 31,180 potholes from November 2022 through March 2023, which is generally regarded as peak pothole season.

  • The same time period a year later, that number rose to 36,750 — an increase of more than 5,500 holes patched, according to data shared with Axios.

Between the lines: Potholes are formed when water seeps into pavement, freezes and expands, weakening the roadway and allowing chunks to crumble and pop out under the weight of traffic.

  • Extreme weather caused by climate change is expected to make the problem worse.

What they're saying: Public works crews were "very aggressive" this winter, city spokesperson Deborah Briner told Axios.

  • In addition to responding to 311 requests, she said the city responded to reports in social media comments and dispatched "street maintenance investigators" to locate holes in need of patching.

Flashback: Back in January, a monster crater popped at least eight tires and snarled traffic on U.S. Route 33.

  • Officials blamed a shift from below-freezing to unseasonably balmy temperatures.

The fine print: You can report potholes on highways to ODOT or use the city's 311 system for local roadways.

  • If your car is damaged, you can also file a claim with the city or state for damages.

Yes, but: Be forewarned that you have to prove negligence on the part of the government, and claimants are almost never successful.

⛳️ You can also flag your most hated pothole to us by emailing [email protected].

  • Like the city, we (probably) won't compensate you for the pain and suffering it's inflicted on your life, but the attention might help get it patched a little quicker.
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