ATLANTA — Drivers see pot holes all across metro Atlanta. They can be a nuisance and ruin your car. So how do cities decide which holes to fix and how fast can they fix them?
Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez learned firsthand how the city decides which ones get filled and tagged along with crews who are working to give you a smooth ride.
“A hole this size? We can be done in five minutes,” Quincy Roberts said as he showed Estevez the first stop.
“So you’re telling me something that’s been a pain in the neck for drivers gets done in five minutes?” Estevez asked.
“Five minutes. You just gotta get to it,” Roberts said.
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The potholes form because when it rains in the winter, the water gets in the asphalt. Eventually, the asphalt gets loose and pops. Estevez spoke with Todd Miles, the Interim Director of Maintenance Operations for ATLDOT, about the biggest misconceptions.
“What’s the number one misconception about the posse and about this problem that every city has?”
“They’re not working. It’s just hype.” said Miles, who added that crews are working. “At the end of the day when you go home and think about it, you have just made someone’s commute to work to school home every day more of a pleasure.”
Roberts from the pothole posse showed Estevez how it’s done along Claire Drive in southwest Atlanta.
First, crews put the glue on the ground. Then they open up the hatch and fill the hole and level it out.
“So I just rake it back and forth and I do it until it’s all the way thin,” Roberts said. “So when we do it, we always keep in our minds do it like you want your car to ride over it.”
But the secret weapon is the tamp machine which flattens and cools the asphalt in minutes.
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The city of Atlanta receives 40 new pothole complaints each day. Three teams of two work to fill 30 per day, often exceeding that goal. Of course, weather conditions play a role. In 2021, city crews repaired 4,000 potholes.
Another misconception is that Atlanta handles all the pot holes in the city. That is not true. The Georgia Department of Transportation handles highways, bridges and state roads like Martin Luther King Drive, Northside Drive and Peachtree Street.
Not all potholes are the same either. Some are easy to fix. Others are called point repairs, or larger holes or breaks in the streets caused by construction or heavy traffic. Point repairs take more time.
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On Kirkwood Road in northeast Atlanta, Estevez took the opportunity to fill a pothole himself. Roberts watched over Estevez as he laid down the glue, filled the hole and worked the tamp machine.
“That’s kind of heavy,” Estevez said. “Is it harder than people think it is?
“Yeah. It is because it’s not so much doing the potholes. To me, it’s the traffic,” Roberts said.
The toughest part of the job is the safety and watching out for people speeding around the neighborhoods.
But for each hole filled, the pothole posse feels like they make a difference.
“Me and my family ride these same streets. So at the end of the day, I got my little girl with me they in the back seat,” Roberts said. “They be like, ‘Dad did you fix that?’ And I say ‘Yeah, I did. It’s more than the money. It’s more than the job I feel like a hero in my own way.”
People can report potholes to the city by calling 311 or reaching 311 on social media.
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