Pothole Patrol: City Council Members Evaluate Road Headaches

By Jeff Neumeyer - 21Alive

February 25, 2014 Updated Feb 25, 2014 at 7:04 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) --- Taking inventory of potholes.

Two Fort Wayne City Council members rode with one of our news crews Tuesday, evaluating the pounding that potholes are putting our cars through.

We mounted a camera on the side of our vehicle, to record some of the good hits.

“Here’s some right here. Oh! That's a little rough," said Republican 1st District Council member Tom Smith, as we cruised over tears in the pavement along Harris Road on the north side of town.

Smith and 2nd District councilman Russ Jehl agreed to join us for a morning rock ‘n roll tour through a minefield of potholes.

They say council's move this month to boost funding for road work from $3.5 million a year to $15 million over the next five years is critical in getting the mess straightened out.

“We have re-prioritized streets. They're back up there at the top, and we've stepped up, and like I said, I think the cavalry is on the way, and we'll see dramatic improvements going forward," said Jehl.

We're seeing the beginnings of what could become a fairly important debate regarding street maintenance issues.

In the long-term, it has to do with what should be the primary material used on street re-surfacing projects.

Concrete is used widely across the city, but there are voices pushing to transition more to asphalt.

“If you replace a concrete street, it lasts about 20 years. That's good, but if you do it in asphalt, it's much cheaper in the first place. Then you have to re-asphalt about every 10 years, but that's still cheaper than trying to maintain concrete streets," Smith said.

Democrat 5th District council member Geoff Paddock is asking constituents who are frustrated by potholes to hang in there.

“I think the long-term relief, you're going to start to see across mid-April or so, when we're able to pour concrete and we're able to pour asphalt on a more permanent basis."

Jehl wants to see city administration change up its Common Wage policy, which he says artificially inflates the cost of infrastructure projects, something that won't be popular with unions and those who get paid to take the “bite” out of our trips around town.

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