New system leads to faster pothole fixes

Residents and business owners say 55th Street is in need of pothole repairs.

It's the start of spring and pothole season. This year, the city has a new online tool that lets you not just report potholes, but track the city's progress in fixing them.

The viewer plots all pothole requests received through the Mayor's Action Center on a map of Marion County. Green dots represent pothole requests addressed by the city and red dots signify requests that are still open. It also shows the most recent requests by date and time.

Wednesday morning, Eyewitness News checked three locations showing the most red dots. (This doesn't mean any one location has the most potholes, simply the most requests to have potholes filled.) One location was 55th Street between Keystone and Rural. Of the nine dots displayed, five were red.

While that stretch of 55th Street is just a few blocks long, with a post office there, it sees a lot of traffic. Those who work along 55th Street also see a lot of zigging and zagging.

Bill Nelson, who owns Nelson Alarm said, "It's rough. We call it the washboard street."

Lisa Allington works next door at Landmark Realty.

"I see a lot of people slowing down and going back over trying to miss the potholes," she said. "There are a lot of accidents or (near) accidents out there."

Geneva Tompkins, who stopped at the post office, knows the danger of landing in a crater. Two months ago, it did some serious damage to her car.

"It was one of those kinds you go down in and come back out," she said. "It was deep enough to blow out a tire."

Tompkins was intrigued by the pothole viewer but also skeptical the city would respond within 3-7 days.

"I've reported potholes before," she said. "I've never seen a pothole fixed that quickly."

Other people were impressed they could not just report potholes, but track the city's progress in fixing them.

One woman said, "when you call the MAC, you sometimes feel like you're going through a lot of run-around and are they really putting this down?"

"I've bent a few rims before, so yeah, if I thought something would get done, I'd probably report it. I just assumed it was going to fall on deaf ears," said Scott Rieger.

The Department of Public Works reports it has 10-15 crews addressing potholes daily, filling close to 1,000 so far this month.

But Nelson and others along 55th Street say it's time the city do more than fill in the cracks.

"I've been here over 13 years and to my recollection they've never repaved, just repatched," he said.

In fact, at Landmark Realty, they have a petition urging the city fix 55th Street once and for all. So far, they've collected 67 signatures.

Owner Karen McNamara described the street condition as "terrible and it's been terrible a long previous years they'll come out and patch and a month later they're back again."

So when is it time to stop the patching and start repaving?

According to DPW, the city uses a Pavement Condition Index to rank street quality on a scale of 0-100, with 0-10 being failed and 86-100 being excellent.

Along with engineering reports, the city also relies on information they receive from the MAC and City-County councilors to determine the "priorities for projects."

According to DPW, the city resurfaced 139 lane miles last year with the 2013 construction list (and money allocated) being finalized now.

As for 55th? No word on whether it's made the resurface list for 2013, but chances are crews will be back several more times to fill in the holes.

Indy Pothole Viewer