Roadwork Before The Storm: Some repairs get made, others wait and new ones will emerge

Thin budget, workforce hamper street maintenance

City crews have been working this week to patch the pot holes around town before the next wave of storms hit.

Photo by JC Amberlyn.

City crews have been working this week to patch the pot holes around town before the next wave of storms hit.

Potholes have been a problem for the motoring public for decades. They can damage wheels and tires and frustrate drivers who most times have no choice but to drive over them, sometimes at dangerous speeds.

Workers at the city of Kingman Street Department are working to alleviate some of the problem areas around town. Major pothole repairs began Tuesday but more will have to wait depending on how hard this weekend’s expected storms pound the city.

Motorists have had to exercise a bit more patience as crews cleared and filled craters on the pockmarked Andy Devine Avenue on El Trovatore Hill.

The repair work ran through Wednesday.

Holes in westbound lanes from the northern inlet of Chadwick Drive to Eighth Street were filled and repairs on the eastbound lanes began when City Street Superintendent Jack Plaunty said his 10-person crew will take a break should rain batter the already suffering city streets.

“We’re only going to make it half-way up the hill,” said Plaunty.

There’s no word yet on how long other repairs will take or how many more are planned. Plaunty said his team – which includes him, a signal and a sign technician – are all the city has to work on local roads. After the storms blow through, he has to divert resources from the potholes to clean storm runoff from the streets and gutters.

“We have a complaint list,” he said. “We try to hit the big spots and then we go block by block and street by street.”

He said the areas in northern Kingman near Camelback Boulevard and Jagerson Avenue are falling apart and require constant maintenance, but Plaunty knows the arterials like Stockton Hill Road, Andy Devine and Gordon Drive are important.

Motorists can expect more holes after the storms. When water gets in the cracks of the current layers of asphalt, it adds to the existing problem. The holes fixed this week should stick but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more on the way.

“The patches aren’t coming up,” Plaunty said. “New potholes are forming.”

The big fix would be to completely repave the streets, something money, time and manpower are hindering. Plaunty said Kingman’s pavement preservation program took a hit in 2008 and has yet to recuperate. One of the last major milling and paving projects was on Stockton Hill Road last June.

“We’re just stretched so thin,” Plaunty said. “It will be a long term solution.”

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