Watch CBS News

As Crews Grapple with Philadelphia's Pothole Epidemic, City Lawmakers Have Questions

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- City officials say they're on pace to fill a record number of potholes this spring -- potholes caused by the bitterly cold winter.

And the pothole situation dominated discussion at a City Council hearing this past week.

At the hearing, First District councilman Mark Squilla asked deputy streets commissioner Michael Carroll if crews go out looking for potholes, or if they only respond to complaints.

(Squilla:)  "Are they repaired on a call-in basis, or do you have crews out there that are looking for potholes along the way and fix them at that point?"

(Carroll:)  "We typically are looking to address complaints that we get in.  We track 311, we also take complaints directly at the Streets Department."

(Squilla:)  "So, if you don't have a complaint of a pothole, it will not necessarily get fixed?"

(Carroll:)  "Well, we do get out there and we do see things on our own, so we'll address those things that our staff sees as well."

After a particularly cold winter, crews have so far filled about 30,000 potholes in Philadelphia, and streets commissioner David Perri (below) said they're on pace to break last year's record of 50,000 potholes filled.


perri_david cap 04-21-15 at 11
(Philadelphia streets commissioner David Perri. Image from City of Phila. TV)


Meanwhile, Squilla believes that many residents are aware of potholes but simply don't take the time to report them.

"It seems to get attention rather quickly, and your turnaround time has been great.  It's just a matter of knowing where they are," Squilla said.

Councilman David Oh questioned Perri about whether the Streets Department is using newer pothole-filling technology that uses infrared.  Perri responded that its use is limited.

"We do have that equipment and we do use it," Perri said.  "We find, however, that using the equipment known as 'Pothole Killer' gets the job done in a much quicker manner than using the infrared technology."

Oh wasn't satisfied, and authored a resolution calling on the Streets Department to explore expanded use of infrared pothole-filling technology.

You can report a pothole in Philadelphia at the Streets Department's web site,, or by calling 311.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.