City street crews, which for weeks were racking up record overtime hours trying to clear, sand and salt streets in the wake of unusually wet and cold weather, now have another problem: potholes.
"I think it's a little more severe than it was last year," said George Williams, director of public works.
He said city street crews for about the past 10 days had been battling the buckled, broken and pock-marked streets that are a byproduct of the stretch of wet and cold weather that until recently gripped the area.
"You really don't see them until it starts warming up, then they start popping up like mushrooms," Williams said of the potholes caused by ice and salt on streets.
Williams said crews were out in force doing temporary repairs aimed at "keeping people's cars in alignment."
Permanent repairs will begin after warm weather remains for a few days, he said.
"I would hope by mid-February, we ought to be out of the woods," he said.
The worst stretch found so far is North Second Street, Williams said. He said it and other damaged streets would be permanently repaired by crews which cut out the damaged sections and replace them with asphalt. The temporary repairs involved filling potholes with asphalt.
He said residents have been complaining to the city about street conditions.
"We send a supervisor out within a few hours and they make a decision on whether it's bad enough to put up barricades or just do it routinely," Williams said. "A lot of people that call in have a tendency to exaggerate a little bit."
Under the department's current cost accounting system, it is impossible to track how much has been spent on repairs. Williams said only the total cost of materials was tracked, and that no totals were yet available.
During the first two weeks of the year, workers salting and sanding streets racked up more overtime than they did in all of 1990. Williams said the unusually icy weather also boosted costs because of the amount of salt used in making streets passable.