Pothole repair wasn’t so hard to do after all

first_imgCity crews are still trying to catch up with repairs caused by the cold wave that caused hundreds of lines in the Department of Water and Power’s aging infrastructure to rupture. “DWP says they only make a patch to the street and leave it to Street Services to finish the job,” Hodge said. “And Street Services said they have done all they can.” DWP spokesman Joe Ramallo said the agency usually makes emergency patches, then notifies the Bureau of Street Services to make permanent repairs. But nearly 500 lines were broken in the cold weather, Ramallo said, and Street Services has not been able to keep up. Officials with the Board of Public Works said the Bureau of Street Services has just one crew assigned to DWP projects because that is all that is usually needed. The crew can handle about 30 repairs – not hundreds – a month. Street Services Director Bill Robertson estimated there is a 90-day backlog on street repairs. “We don’t have the ability to hire any more workers, but we shift people around to deal with the most serious problems,” he said. Robertson’s bureau has an annual budget of $23 million and spends about $3 million of that on pothole repairs. Robertson said claims for pothole damage are summarized with other liability payouts, which total about $6.7 million a year. Officials with the Mayor’s Office said Friday that street repairs remain one of Villaraigosa’s highest priorities. But his new Operation Smooth Ride program seeks to repair city streets that are deteriorating because of age and traffic. The West Hills pothole? Well, that was caused by cold winter weather. Ramallo said the DWP is adding several crews to help Street Services with pothole repair work. “He called and asked me questions … and said he’d send a work crew right out,” Hodge said. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! What began as a routine DWP repair to a broken water main turned into a two-month bureaucratic nightmare for a quiet West Hills neighborhood. And the drama only ended Friday after the Daily News asked questions about why two city agencies couldn’t fix a dangerous problem that could have left taxpayers liable if there were an accident. Suddenly, city crews went to work and fixed the problem that had upset the neighborhood since January. Crews immediately repaired an underground pipe that broke during the January cold snap, but a pothole developed later that grew so large, residents feared it would become a sinkhole. “They have a sawhorse up around it, but it keeps getting knocked down,” said Miles Hodge before the repairs were made Friday. Hodge had repeatedly called the city to try to get the hole at Ingomar and Royer streets repaired. “It’s been a problem for weeks and it’s just getting worse and worse. The other day I was coming home and I saw a motorcyclist almost completely lose control when he went through it,” he said. “I’m just afraid someone will get really hurt.” Hodge’s frustration was heightened this week when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proclaimed that city crews would try to repair 300,000 potholes as part of a yearlong improvement campaign. “If he’s serious about potholes,” Hodge said, “he should come out here.” But efforts to fix the West Hills pothole were mired in jurisdictional issues, exacerbated by an unprecedented backlog of broken DWP pipelines. last_img read more