Council panel approves $15 million DPW request


The City-County Council's public works panel approved the transfer of $15 million of existing funds to the city's war against potholes at a meeting Thursday.

The department requested $8 million to fill potholes left by brutal winter weather and $7 million to cover cost overruns from snow removal and road treatments during the winter. The full council must now approve the money and may do so at a meeting May 12.

It is a fraction of the money DPW says it needs for desperately-needed street resurfacing. In neighborhoods across Indianapolis, streets are scarred and scary battlegrounds in a war on potholes the city appears to be losing.

"I've actually had to do quite a bit of front-end repairs. I keep busting tie rods on my car," said Corbin Minnich, a fast food delivery driver and pothole victim.

He says he is continually trying to dodge new potholes and more repair bills.

"When a large amount of my profit goes toward putting money back in my car, then I'm not making as much money as I would like to," Minnich said.

"There's just no good way to get out of this area," said driver Jackie Crousore about the pothole problem. "There's a big one right there."

But sometimes, Jackie drops into a pothole.

"There's no missing them," she said.

Pothole season has passed, but DPW is still trying to take care of more than 3,500 possible complaints.

"She's ruined a tire," Carl said of his wife.

He's never seen anything like this. Motorists zigging and zagging around multiple potholes that can risk a wreck.

While you are dodging, the city has been doing - fixing almost 16,000 pothole complaints this year, about 14,000 more than last year at this time.

The patches DPW workers are putting down are temporary fixes on stretches of roads that look as if there's as much patchwork as original pavement.

One stretch had 60 potholes. If you imagine patching a leaky roof with duct tape, it might work for awhile, but doesn't fix the problem. A pothole filled one day, a few days or a few weeks later are surprising drivers who thought it was fixed.

"It's like you almost can't even drive. You're always worried you will hit one. I think they need to be repaved," said Laura Leyden as she prepared to pull into traffic.

The $15 million council members are considering transferring to the DPW's street fight covers less than two-thirds of the repairs administrators say are needed. But it would be a start - enough to put Indianapolis on the road to recovery.