City approves $15M for potholes, snow removal

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The war on potholes in the Indianapolis area is getting the reinforcements needed to win a few battles.

The City-County Council approved $8 million requested by the Department of Public Works to fill potholes left by the brutal winter and $7 million to cover the cost of overruns from snow removal and salt treatments on multiple occasions.

The money won't take care of the entire problem, but it's a start.

About half of the money would come from the the general transportation fund and the other half would come from the "Rebuild Indy" fund, to be repaid by next summer.

The plan targets projects in each district. The DPW has identified $24 million in emergency needs to include repaving many stretches of streets. Drivers say they would rather see that, rather than the temporary pothole patchwork they're dodging now.

"There's so many chuckholes. It's like you can't even drive. You're always afraid you're going to hit one. I think they need to be repaved or something," said Driver Laura Leyden.

The City of Indianapolis has received 16,000 complaints about potholes this year - that's about 14,000 more than last year at this time.

A stretch of North Pennsylvania made the list to be repaved, so did several dozen other streets, but not Amy Harwell's. Harwell showed up to Monday's council vote with a fistful of petitions.

"I would like them to stop overlooking the neighborhood," Harwell said.

When her councilor approached, she let him have it.

"Here it is. That's a printout of the streets being done. Martindale, Brightwood," she said.

Councilor Duke Oliver says while Harwell's street may not be done this time, other streets in her area will be.

"So not everyone is happy, but a few people will be satisfied," Oliver said.

The $8 million will be used to repave roads countywide, but still falls short of the $24 million needed to fix all roads.

"This is really a drop in the bucket. It's the tip of the iceberg, the very worst of the worst streets that are so bad we can't even fix them without patching them anymore," said Stephanie Wilson, Department of Public Works.

While the council is working to come up with another $16 million, Wilson says you won't see any roadwork until mid-to-late summer. As for potholes, there's still a backlog of 3,500 waiting to be filled.

That prompted Kurt Flock to make a tongue-in-cheek video called "Adopt A Pothole," where he plants a tree in a pothole downtown.

"I was clearly having fun, but it is a serious issue," he said.

The mayor's office, though, was not amused when Flock suggested people contact the Mayor's Action Center to learn more. They asked him to change it.

"It's a parody. I hope they have a sense of humor while working hard to solve the problem,," he replied.