BRIDGEPORT — When the great polar vortex thawed and the snow mostly melted, the city's potholes deepened and widened.
Drivers were frustrated. Hubcaps were lost.
Now, the civic-minded folks behind the Bridgeport Citizens Group are bringing some levity to the annual transportation hassle with its first-ever pothole contest. The prize is a $20 gift certificate to Jackalope Coffee and Tea House, 755 W. 32nd St.
Here's how it works: Participants will measure and photograph potholes throughout Bridgeport — street and alleys, no private parking lots — then email entries to the group at Bridgeportcitizensgroup@gmail.com. The biggest one wins.
But there's a public-service function to the contest, too. In order to qualify for the prize, participants must report the potholes to the city's 311 service.
Entries must include the location of the pothole, the time and date it was reported to 311 and a photograph of the pothole with an accompanying measuring device like a ruler or tape measure.
Organizers are stressing safety and encouraging participants work in teams when locating and photographing the potholes. (And no wise guys, either — the group says photos of the ongoing road repair work along 31st Street do not qualify.)
The contest started at noon Friday. The deadline for entries is 5 p.m. on Jan. 24, and the winner will be announced on the group's Facebook page on Jan. 27.
The prize will be awarded at the Feb. 11 CAPS meeting, held at the Chicago Police Department's Deering District police station, 3120 S. Halsted St.
This week, the city unveiled an online tracker that shows where city crews have patched potholes over the preceding seven days. The tool was made public one week after Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered crews to begin filling potholes all week long, including weekends.
To learn more about the Bridgeport Citizens Group contest, see the group's Facebook page.