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City committee approves $1 million for pothole repair in Minneapolis

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 1, 2014 - 11:41 AM

Potholes have been popping up on metro area streets and highways at a frenetic pace, and so have calls and emails to various agencies where drivers can report them.

Already Minneapolis has logged more than 1,030 reports through its city website and calls to 311. St. Paul isn't far behind with 898 reports as of Monday. MnDOT says its had 100 more reports during March of 2014 than it had last year in March. So far 375 reports have come in from the public, law enforcement and maintenance staff.  Hennepin County says it has received 170 reports between January and March.

"It's not a surprise that we have a big problem," said Minneapolis Public Works Director Mike Kennedy. "We've had all the perfect ingredients. It's really breaking up our roads, not just in Minneapolis, but all across the metro area."

Minneapolis moved another step closer Tuesday to approving an extra $1 million to fill those pesky and potentially vehicle damaging craters. The Transportation and Public Works Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of the extra funding. The measure now goes to the City Council for approval.

The money would allow the city to add extra crews that would be dedicated to pothole repair. Usually six are sent out, but that could rise to nine if the funding comes through. "We'd almost double the efforts to get a jump on the problem," Kennedy said.

During discussion, Council member Blong Yang, who represents north Minneapolis, asked if 26th Avenue in the Hawthorne and Jordan neighborhoods would be getting some much-needed attention. Kennedy said crews have been out there seven times this winter and spring.  He said crews are aware of the problem and will make repairs necessary to get through the summer and next winter. The street is scheduled to be ripped out and replaced next year.

Yang was concerned that 26th might not get the same attention as other areas of the city because his constituents are less likely to call 311 than residents in other parts of the city. Kennedy said resources are equally distributed across Minneapolis and no area gets more services than another.

"We are not complaint driven," Kennedy said of the city's efforts to fix potholes. "We are complaint responsive. We take care of the worst first. We route the work in a planned manner. We work in a productive, efficient and cost-effective manner."

Kennedy said potholes in bike lanes and crosswalks also would get attention.

MnDOT also has been extra busy this year.  As of Monday, the agency has spent more than $53,000 on material dedicated to pothole repair. That equates to 600 tons blacktop just this month to fill potholes, said spokeswoman Bobbie Dahlke.

Here is where to report potholes:

Minnesota Department of Transportation: Call 651-296-3000 or online

Minneapolis: Call 311 or online.

St. Paul: Call 651-266-9700 or email potholes@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Hennepin County: Call 612-596-0299 or online

Ramsey County outside the city of St. Paul: 651-266-7100 or email pothole@co.ramsey.mn.us

Washington County: Call 651-430-4300 or online by clicking on "Report a Concern"

Carver County: Call 952-466-5200 

Dakota County: Call 952-891-7900 or online.

Scott County: Call 952-445-7750

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