CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Potholes have been a major issue in Corpus Christi for years. City officials say that's because they haven't been fixing them the most efficient way.
It's no surprise that Corpus Christi has pothole problems, but the problems are worse than many imagined.
“We've been reporting more than 200,000 pothole repairs a year,” said Director of Public Works Richard Martinez. “Looking at the size of our city, that's unheard of.”
Martinez started as the city's new public works director earlier this month. He says 200,000 pothole repairs a year means many potholes are fixed more than once, and highlights problems with the repair process.
“We can improve that process significantly,” said Martinez.
To Martinez, improving the process means using modern techniques so that city crews fix potholes right the first time. But to do that, the city needs new equipment.
“We do have the pothole repair units, but they don't exactly have all the tools they need to have on them,” said Martinez.
The city also needs to keep its crews up to date with the latest techniques.
Martinez says crews are already being re-trained and will continue training, a process that City Manager Peter Zanoni supports.
“This isn't about a one-time training and you're good for 10 years, it's constant,” said Zanoni. “Equipment is changing, materials change, processes change.”
Zanoni wants to make sure the city has the right leaders for each department. He hired Martinez to replace Albert Quintanilla, who was slated to be Martinez’s assistant until Quintanilla’s abrupt resignation last week.
Zanoni said Quintanilla’s expertise was in building highways, and Martinez’s more than 30 years’ experience in public works in cities like Fort Worth and San Antonio made him the right man to fix our streets.
“The number one issue is our streets, all you have to do is get out there and drive,” said Zanoni.
Meanwhile, Martinez says instead of worrying about the city’s past inefficiency, he’s focused on the future.
“I'm going to look forward, I'm not looking in the past” said Martinez. “I'm looking at how we're going."
Martinez says he's working on a comprehensive five-year plan for improving his department and city infrastructure. He expects to present it to the city council this summer.