As warmer spring air fights its way through only to be pushed back by another harsh Pittsburgh winter, the water that seeps through roadway pavement unfreezes and refreezes causing the potholes that dot much of Southwestern Pennsylvania's roads.
PennDOT provides a telephone number, which the public can call to have potholes on state roads fixed in a timely manner. By calling 1-800-349-7623 and identifying the location of the pothole using landmarks and the state road number, residents can help PennDOT find potholes that inevitably occur during the changing of the seasons.
“We’ve actually had the 1-800-FIX-ROAD line for probably 15 years now and it’s not really a hotline, it’s actually open year-round and motorists can report any highway maintenance concern on state roads,” PennDOT spokesman Steve Chizmar says.
According to Chizmar, snow removal and road treatments are top priority for the department but potholes will be taken care of as quickly as possible. Callers should be able to identify the county, the municipality, the street name and the state route number along with any landmarks located near the pothole. While PennDOT only fixes state roads marked by small white “state route” signs, Chizmar says if there is a pothole on a local non-state road, the local municipality should be informed.
“[The number] gets an awful lot of use, there is an average of about 40,00 calls every year,” Chizmar says. “It’s actually a maintenance hotline number and motorists can report everything from potholes, to dead deer, to shoulder drop-offs, any type of highway maintenance concern.”
The city of Pittsburgh has launched its own war on potholes. Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski is asking residents to report potholes online, or by calling the Mayor’s 311 hotline. (Non City-residents can report potholes to 311 by dialing 412-255-CITY.) Kaczorowski says crews hope to respond to calls within 72 hours and pledge to have them filled within five days.
Crews will be out on two 8-hour shifts working on the potholes whenever they are not dealing with ice and snow. "Our crews are committed to battling Pittsburgh's potholes," says Kaczorowski. The mayor’s office says since the beginning of the year the city has responded to 234 pothole calls.