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After the Rain: Pothole repairs to begin Monday

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Posted at 6:02 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 19:11:07-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Did this week's steady rains open up potholes on your street? Not to worry -- city of Corpus Christi officials said they're on it, starting Monday.

"Next week, as better weather comes in and we get some of the asphalt back in, some of the hot asphalt, it's gonna be all hands on deck," said Roland Mata, the city's assistant director of public works for streets and stormwater. "We will not be doing anything other than just pothole-related (repairs)."

Fixing potholes is the industry norm after storms such as this week's, Mata said, but continuing to make streets safe and driveable in Corpus Christi always is a priority. Corpus Christi has received about eight inches of rain since Sunday -- about one-quarter of the city's average yearly rainfall.

"It's a continuing effort," he said. "We know that, after every rain event -- especially if it's a prolonged rain event -- we're gonna have many more potholes out there. So our effort is to just 'Hey, you know what? Let's put our resources in the right location.' "

Some of the repairs made during the recent "Pothole Blitz," which filled more than 7,300 potholes, were uncovered by the week's prolonged rains. But Mata said it has little to do with the quality of the recent fixes, and more to do with the existing streets.

"Because of the pavement being deferred for so many years, we have a lot of cracks in the pavement," he said. "Even if we fix a pothole repair, that saturation is still underneath that old pavement."

The recent rains only add to the problem.

"As moisture comes into the base, then you'll have more of a mush of stable base material," he said. "And after that, it starts unraveling. So we could fix up one pothole, and it unravels right next to it, just because that moisture content is already spread underneath there."

Which is why he said it's crucial for residents to call the city to report potholes on their neighborhood streets or daily routes, as soon as they see them. Not only do they cause an immediate road hazard, but as soon as the smallest piece of a street's surface is damaged, water gets in, and it weakens the entire street.

"Right now, that is the most important thing," he said. "If they see a pothole, report it. Sometimes when the drivers are driving out there, they don't call it in or their neighbors don't call it in, that pothole keeps getting avoided."

Reporting potholes to the city also helps Mata and his staff prioritize which streets need immediate attention. Streets with the most complaints are inspected, and the city is able to decide whether it requires a simple fix, or whether it will need to be monitored and later singled-out for more comprehensive work.

"So that could be a playing factor between one block to another," he said. "The more you call in, the better it is for that rehab to occur in a much faster stage, so logging all of that information is going to make us make better decisions as to which streets are we selecting."

For now, though, crews will hit the streets on Monday looking to make fixes that last.

"That's one of the things we're trying to do right now," he said. "Have more potholes (repairs) be sustainable, last a little bit longer than what we would normally do. We're using all-weather material during this rain event. We're gonna lay that material down on every single pothole that we have."

And he's hoping for residents' help to be able to send crews into the neighborhoods really needing the TLC.

"After this storm event, we know that there's many potholes out there, we just want to make sure that we're targeting the right -- where citizens are calling in," he said.

He said without residents' help, crews will be proactive about finding and fixing what they can.

"Not that we can't find them," he said. "It's that it's best that we do the potholes where citizens want them (addressed)."

To report potholes on your street, call (361) 826-CITY (2489). The call will then be transferred to the streets department.