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Salt Lake City looks to fill 6,000 potholes during week-long 'Pothole Palooza'

Posted at 6:38 PM, Apr 11, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Roads across Utah have taken a beating due to the historic winter weather the state has seen.

For Salt Lake City resident Ginny Carpenter, it has made for a bumpy ride when she goes for a run at Liberty Park.

"Some of the potholes are really deep, and it's scary because you just don't know and you can't see them," said Carpenter.

She pointed to 900 South, 1300 South and West Temple as areas where she has seen the most potholes.

Tuesday afternoon, crews with the Salt Lake City Department of Public Services were out filling potholes downtown near 300 East and 200 South.

Oscar Sanchez, a senior asphalt equipment operator, was part of a three-person team working on that road.

"[There are] about 15 to 17 [potholes] on this stretch of road," he said.

Sanchez says they go up and down the streets looking for potholes, and if there is one that needs to be filled, they fill it and mark it on their data entry.

"Yesterday we did about 90," said Sanchez. "We want to make sure that that patch is maybe like a quarter inch or half inch above the road surface, so when it gets compacted down it's nice and level."

Mayor Erin Mendenhall says city crews filled nearly 18,000 potholes last year. This year, between the months of January and March, the mayor says they've filled almost 19,000 potholes, including 1,300 on Monday.

During a week-long effort, dubbed "Pothole Palooza," Mendenhall says 70 public service employees have been redirected and focused entirely on filling potholes.

"This week alone, our crews will fill — are we safe to say it? 6,000 potholes just this week," the mayor said.

For this fiscal year, Salt Lake City budgeted $500,000 for asphalt repairs.

Mendenhall says shifting personnel to tackle filling potholes won't come at a cost.

"It's really a lot of the same employees, so if they are snow fighters in the winter, they are street builders in the summer," she said.

City officials hope this shows residents and visitors their proactive efforts to address the situation.

"While filling potholes is not a full road repair and does not replace the other more robust maintenance work our crews perform, it goes a long way in increasing the safety of our roads for any type of user," said Julie Crookston, the deputy director of operations for the Salt Lake City Department of Public Services.

That's a sentiment echoed by those hard at work on Tuesday like Sanchez.

"It's important to keep the road safe... our number one priority," said Sanchez.

Potholes can be reported through the SLC Mobile App. For the most updated information on Pothole Palooza this week, you can visit slc.gov/mystreet.