As the extended deep freeze that gripped the city since Christmas tapers off, some are rejoicing. Others are checking their tires: It's pothole season.
City transportation officials reported this week that compared to this time last year, crews have had to fill about 12,000 less potholes.
Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner Thomas Powers told the Chicago Tribune that the shrinking amount of potholes likely comes down to two factors:
An extended deep freeze has resulted in fewer freeze-thaw cycles and, therefore, less of an opportunity for snow and water to seep into cracks in roadways and blow apart pavement when the moisture turns to ice. In addition, the city resurfaced about 31 miles of arterial streets last year using $35 million from the federal government's economic stimulus program. The new street surface has proven more resistant to pothole damage, officials said. In addition, the city paid for the resurfacing of 400 blocks of residential streets.
As temperatures fluctuate between the mid-30s and low-40s this week, Chicagoans should be weary; more holes are likely on the way.
To report a pothole in the city, call 311. If your car is damaged by a city pothole, you can fill out a claim form with the city clerk's office here.