Somerville DPW goes on ‘Pothole Blitz’

On April 4, 2014, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

pothole-1In just three months, the Somerville Department of Public Works is on pace to break its record for potholes filled within one calendar year. After completing 1,520 externally and internally generated work orders for potholes in 2013, DPW crews have already filled 1,147 potholes through March 2014, including 552 in March alone. The annual average for potholes filled is 1,399, and the city is calling on residents to help keep the blitz going by reporting any and all pothole sightings to 311 (see below for five easy ways to report a pothole).

“Especially after an extremely cold and snowy winter, heavily trafficked city streets see a tremendous amount of wear and tear both from standard vehicle travel and from heavy public works trucks and plows that work around the clock to keep our streets safe and clear from snow and ice,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “Our crews are making great progress addressing streets in need of repair as winter finally winds down, and the public can help. We’re surveying the streets for any potholes to repair but residents can make sure we don’t miss any by reporting them to 311.”

“Our goal is always to respond to requests for pothole patching as soon as possible and within the allotted two [business] day timeframe noted in the 311 Work Order system,” said DPW Commissioner Stan Koty. “This year we are being even more proactive in preparing for the warmer months with the addition of a second truck equipped for patching, which has allowed us to cover more ground. To date, 70 percent of the potholes filled have been proactively identified and entered as work orders by DPW crews.”

The blitz has been timed to coincide with the warming weather because potholes form more frequently in winter. Potholes are created when water seeps into existing cracks and into underlying soil, weakening the pavement. Cold temperatures cause the water to freeze and expand and, with added weight of traffic on the weakened pavement, asphalt breaks, eventually leaving the hole that can become larger if not treated appropriately.

In March 2014, the city purchased a second truck equipped for pothole patching that can hold up to four tons of hot top per load in preparation for spring. A second city-owned truck has the capacity for up to three tons.

“The health, safety, and quality of life of our residents is our top priority, and that starts by ensuring our streets and sidewalks are safe for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians,” said Mayor Curtatone. “All of our city employees are expected to deliver accurate, courteous and easy customer service and I am proud to say that the Highway crew is exemplifying that mission by taking a more proactive approach to addressing our roadway safety infrastructure. The Pothole Blitz is far from over, and to help keep our streets in top condition we encourage constituents to continue to report potholes as you see them by calling 311, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Five Ways to Report a Pothole in Somerville


7 Responses to “Somerville DPW goes on ‘Pothole Blitz’”

  1. ritepride says:

    The DPW, despite over the years with layoffs, have always done good work. The Pothole program is just one example. But there are some places that repeated filling of potholes just doesnt cut it.

    There are sections of Powderhouse Blvd that thanks to the continued illegal heavy trucking the pothole filling is useless. The street needs serious repaving.

    It is a major commuter route with cars from the burbs cutting through daily to Boston. Thus Somerville officials on “Bacon Hill” should get state funding to assist in repaving the blvd. and the SPD needs to be ticketing the illegal truck traffic that is constantly tearing up this roadway.

  2. Pixie Pocahontas says:


    Wouldn’t the city and commonwealth save millions by paving new roads instead of always repairing the same pot holes each year? With today’s technology, can’t they invent a product which seals the pothole so it doesn’t crumble next winter? I bet if they evaluated costs of projects just to refill with paving a new road they would find it costs less. Do it right the first time and save the taxpayers millions. Isn’t that a better solution? Crumbling roads can cause accidents and damage our cars. No surprise our cars driven in the city wear out much faster than those driven in the city. Same goes for highway roads. Have you even driven on highways in NH? It’s like driving on a sheet of glass.

  3. Pixie Pocahontas says:

    No surprise our cars driven in the city wear out much faster than those driven in the “suburbs”. So what does that tell us? I get population numbers, but wonder if money is better managed by officials who know where it should be spent and residents demanding more for their tax dollars.

  4. Ron Newman says:

    Oy yes, Powderhouse Boulevard. It’s pretty, but on a bike it’s boneshaking.

  5. ritepride says:

    It is suprising that none of the road race participants and bikes have not been injured. A lot of the potholes are results of utility companies digging up the streets. Smart cities have required these companies when they cut a hole in the street they cannot path but instead must repave from curb to curb 25-50 feet both sides of the hole…Thus no potholes.

  6. matt c says:

    We should probably be going back to the contractors who do the paving for our money back, look at broadway by school street. That road is not 5 year repaved and its got huge “waves” in it where it has sunk several inches in spots

  7. A.Moore says:

    That was one of the two reasons I gave up trying to bicycle in Somerville. The sides of the roads are horrid where one rides a bike. Many worse than the part the cars are one. My body can’t take it anymore.

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