On Jan. 22, city officials told the Journal-World that their crews had filled and/or refilled 2,368 potholes in the previous two weeks.
From the looks of Lawrence streets today, most of those potholes are back and they’ve brought their friends.
We realize that filling potholes in a winter with as much ice and snow as we’ve had this year is something akin to playing pavement Whac-A-Mole, but local streets are a mess. Every thoroughfare in Lawrence is pitted with potholes that can damage vehicles and create a dangerous driving hazard. The holes are impossible to miss. Drivers have to choose between swerving into another lane of traffic or simply hitting the hole and hoping they don’t blow out a tire.
Just after the first of the year, Chuck Soules, the city’s public works director, said he didn’t expect there to be as many potholes in Lawrence this year. He made that prediction based on a number of repaving projects and the city’s ongoing effort to seal cracks in the streets. The theory was that water would have fewer opportunities to get into those cracks, freeze and break out the surrounding pavement.
It was a good theory. It’s even possible it worked in some spots, but it’s hard to tell.
Local residents can reports potholes by filling out a form on the city’s Web site (www.lawrenceks.org) or calling the pothole reporting line (832-3456), but road crews shouldn’t wait for complaints to address the problems on the city’s major thoroughfares. The condition of the city’s main routes should be given priority over smaller neighborhood pothole issues.
It’s been a tough winter, but the condition of local streets is an embarrassment. Spring is just around the corner. The city needs to redouble its pothole-filling efforts.