Archive for Friday, February 26, 2010

Plenty of potholes

So much for predictions that Lawrence would see fewer potholes this year. It seems Mother Nature had something else in mind.

February 26, 2010


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 ( 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.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Our city should stop planning any new street development UNTIL it can afford to maintain what we have across the board. It's called a moratorium. Call off any new water, sewer line and road projects because the existing infrastructure is going straight to hell.

Existing Streets in Lawrence are in a condition that could create plenty of new jobs for the next two years without adding more and more and more and more miles of roads or other new infrastructure to our tax bills. Adding more and more and more and more miles to our tax bills during a recession that has no end in sight would be irresponsible city/county management.

BTW let's concentrate on repairing streets for the long haul not a quick patch job.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 3 months ago

it was a stupid prediction. anyone who's lived in Lawrence for any amount of time could have told you that the potholes cometh.

grimpeur 8 years, 3 months ago

Gosh, head in the sand much? No city can keep up with the number of unnecessary cars which ply the streets of Lawrence. Everybody drives, even those who live close enough to work and groceries to walk. This lifestyle choice is expensive. We already had a sales tax increase to fund street repairs not covered by gas, car, or registration taxes (I assume the city has some income from these state revenues?). And it's still not enough.

Lawrence has some of the most plentiful and conveniently-located parking of any city its size. In fact, given the fact that motorists in Lawrence choose to drive simply because of the promise of plentiful parking at the end of their embarrassingly short commutes, one could say there is an excess of parking, which encourages this type of wasteful behavior.

Yeah, yeah, you'll drive what and when and where you want. Well, this is what it costs us.

LivedinLawrence4Life 8 years, 3 months ago

Every street in town has lots of pot holes except for the stretch of road on Kasold from 15th to 23rd (Clinton Parkway). Like some of the previous posts mention, we need to stop thinking that we can fill in pot holes that just pop back out soon thereafter and instead start replacing them with streets like the new Kasold from 15th to 23rd. It is my understanding that a new type of concrete was used on that stretch of road that is obviously holding up to harsh conditions.

classclown 8 years, 3 months ago

How about a hot line number someone could call about where there ISN'T a pothole?

Maybe LJW can go there and take a picture and write a story about it.

Vic 8 years, 3 months ago

I have to agree with LivedinLawrence4Life. There is a section of 23rd street I drive every day, from Ousdahl to Barker that they repaved last fall that held up well. This was using a new kind of pavement that not only went down quickly and held up to the weather, but when they had to recut holes for access to utilities underneath, it didn't leave any lines in the road. Potholes grow where the road has been cut to allow expansion or for utility access. We can see that filling potholes is a losing battle. I think the city should repave roads with this material and call it good. I am more than willing to deal with a temporary street closings than attempting to dodge giant craters in the road all the time.

madameX 8 years, 3 months ago

grimpuer, to be fair since at least December there hasn't really been a viable alternative to driving. I live pretty close to work and rode my bike up until the temperature dipped below freezing. Even then, I bundled up and rode anyway, but one day of riding when it was 17 degrees was enough. Not that there aren't folks who drive unnecessarily, because there are, but part of the problem is that people are most dependent on their cars because of the same nasty weather thar causes potholes.

nouseforaname 8 years, 3 months ago

How about instead of repeatedly filling potholes, they just repave those problematic streets? I blew out a tire on a pothole between 19th and 21st Street on Louisiana, which I think is probably the worst street in terms of potholes and patchwork filling. They can patch the pothole, but eventually those patches get torn up and the road deteriorates even more. These poor streets are not just a hazard for drivers because of the wear and tear on their vehicles, but they are a hazard to traffic as well. I don't like having to drive almost down the middle of streets (not to mention having to lookout for other people doing the same) because the right side of the street is just a gaping pit. It gets worse in residential areas (especially around campus) because of high traffic, poor drainage, and the fact that past city planners thought it was an okay idea to just slap pavement over the existing brick streets. I love how at the 10th and New Jersey intersection you can not only see the underlying brick but also the old trolley tracks. I bet that makes for stable streets, you know? I know the guys in Public Works are trying hard to keep up with repairs, but there comes a time when quick repairs stop helping and start contributing to the problem.

Sherry Warren 8 years, 3 months ago

Louisiana next to LHS is the worst I have ever seen any street in Lawrence - over 20 years in Douglas County. I keep a mental map of what streets to avoid when in town, but it is getting harder and harder to keep track as more and more bad stretches are created.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 3 months ago

There's something seriously wrong with 23rd St east of Haskell out to where K-10 starts. A two inch mill and overlay isn't fixing whatever is wrong with it. Maybe it needs a major reconstruction like Kasold got.

cowboy 8 years, 3 months ago

Gosh , think there might be a need for new management of the streets department and possibly some new engineering standards for our streets. The streets are getting much worse , not better !

nobody1793 8 years, 3 months ago

The answer is obvious people. Replace the T with a network of magnetic levitating trains. Duh?!

vega 8 years, 3 months ago

C'mon people - you cannot have potholes fixed without a tax hike one way or the other, but you don't want to pay - there you have it.

jafs 8 years, 3 months ago


We already voted for an increase in sales tax that was supposed to fund street mainentance/repair as well as the "T" system.

brent flanders 8 years, 3 months ago

It's a matter of priorities as many have previously stated. The condition of the roads in Lawrence for the last several decades has been an embarrassment. At minimum, the main entry and exit points to the city should be as smooth as silk to welcome visitors and to just make a good impression. As for the rest of the city, the roads simply are beyond belief in terms of their condition, beyond belief. We consider ourselves an intellectual community, yet the most basic elements, such as street repairs, elude us. I have no problem with appropriate taxation, spending it wisely is the issue. What is ever more important that the education of our kids from K-12 (including the facilities) or the maintenance of the infrastructure of the city in which you live...doesn't everything else come next...we'd all like this, that, and the other thing but first I'd like clean running water, utilities, real paved streets, and an environment where our kids can flourish and set the standards for the future.

BigPrune 8 years, 3 months ago

The terrible roads in Lawrence are the result of 10 years of restrictive policies from the City of Lawrence that ruined out tax base. Smart Growth ruined our quality of life (and tax base). All hail the outdated it rolled off the presses sacred cow, Horizon 2020.

Georgine McHenry 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm pretty sure that Mr. Soules levitates to work and around town.

David Klamet 8 years, 3 months ago

You drive cars, you have streets, you get wet weather, freezing and thawing cycles and potholes are the result.

Steel rails are the answer, bring back the trolleys!

cozy 8 years, 3 months ago

I would like to know who I need to contact about getting a replacement for my missing wheel cover from an abnormally large pothole that should have been fixed LONG before it got to the point that it did. I had no way to avoid it as it took up majority of the lane and someone was in the lane beside me, so I could not drive around it.

cozy 8 years, 3 months ago

*being reimbursed for my wheel cover

parrothead8 8 years, 3 months ago

Healthcare_Moocher (anonymous) says... No money to fix the streets or to keep schools open, but we can build crossings for bicycle paths, run empT busses all over town,

Perhaps if more people got out of their cars and onto bikes and buses, we wouldn't have so many potholes. I ain't holding my breath for that to happen, though.

I agree with Merrill. Suspend all NEW road projects and fix what we've got. No sense in building new roads to plan for people who won't want to move here when they see the condition of our older roads.

gccs14r 8 years, 3 months ago

The roads were crap when I moved here in '92. PLC didn't have anything to do with that, but they did manage to get 6th and Kentucky rebuilt with what appears to be good concrete. Can' t say the same thing for 11th & Haskell, though. Haskell has a huge crack down the middle of the northbound lane that's starting to lose chunks of concrete, and the road is only about seven years old.

Any city planner who suggests building a road with asphalt or limestone-aggregate concrete should be fired on the spot. Asphalt is ok for temporary paving for a detour, but it's not a proper material for permanent roads.

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