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San Jose road crews face daunting crop of new potholes from rain

San Jose road crews face daunting crop of new potholes
San Jose road crews face daunting crop of new potholes 02:49

SAN JOSE -- Potholes on Bay Area roads are being made worse by the recent severe weather, with work crews across the region working hard to make repairs quickly.

There are 2,400 miles of paved roads in San Jose. And after 22 years on the job, road maintenance team leader James Williams has practically seen them all, up close.

"So the call we got was a manhole with asphalt missing on one side. Right there, that would be the hazard," Williams said looking at a pothole on Tasman Road. "The complaint said a tire was blown out. We're here to clean this up and make it safe for the traffic." 

San Jose road repair crews say spot repairs of potholes will last for years if done properly.

"What we'll do is open the bags with the shovels, and we'll place the material down in the missing area.  We call it a quick patch, a rock and oil mix.  Once we put it down, we give it a light compacting, and then it's ready to go and will be a nice surface for people to drive over," Williams said.

There was a 500 pothole to do list in the city, with that number growing after the storms. But Williams and his crew don't just wait for orders, they're always on the hunt for new trouble spots.

"This is what happens when water gets under the surface of asphalt. It slowly degrades it. Dries it out and it breaks up and turns into these little alligator cracks which get bigger," he said. "Then they get to the point where the asphalt surface gets loose and breaks up and turns into little, small chunks."

Working on the roads next to traffic is a dangerous occupation. But it can be made a whole lot safer if drivers slow down.

"We can only hope they are paying attention and not looking at their cell phone." Williams said. "My life and my co-workers lives are in danger. We'd like to go home to our families too. Slow down and just pay attention."

San Jose's road crews fill 11,000 potholes every year. Giving the crews a brake will help smooth out the road ahead for everyone.

In San Jose, residents can report potholes by calling 3-1-1 or by using the San Jose 311 app.  The city says most reports will get fixed within 48 hours.

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