LOGAN SQUARE — As Scott Baker violently flips through photos of a massive Northwest Side pothole on his smartphone, his frustration is evident.
"It really bothers me. You see some people slowing down or moving into the other lane and it's scary," said Baker, the facilities manager at the Windy City Fieldhouse, 2367 W. Logan Blvd., in front of which the pothole has formed. He's documented its growth since it first appeared in December, and says it's creating a dangerous scenario as drivers swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid it.
Baker alerted the city when he first saw the pothole late last year, but despite efforts to fix it, it's still taking out tires.
"They came out once in December to patch it up, but in three weeks it was back to where it was," Baker said. "I don't know if it's the pure volume of the city or if they're waiting for something. I continue to follow up and get nothing."
Earlier this month, the city added six additional crews to help fix the pothole problem that's been spiraling out of control due to the brutal winter. The city hopes the crews will help fill 25,000 potholes in May. Already in 2014 they've covered 215,000 potholes.
Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation announced it was conducting an audit of arterial streets that were repaved by private contractors last year. If any repair work is needed, the contractors will either be responsible or required to reimburse the city "under quality-assurance warranties," said a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. CDOT did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
Baker isn't alone in his complaints. Many of the businesses along the road have also received their fair share of complaints. Maria Carbajal works the customer service desk at the Target at 2655 N. Elston Ave., and said she's received at least five complaints a day for the last three months.
"We have to tell customers that there's nothing we could do, they have to call the city. Hopefully, they receive enough complaints and fix it," Carbajal said, admitting she feels their pain on her daily commute to work.
"It's pretty bad. Every time I pass it I have to stop, then traffic behind me has to stop, but it's the only way to get to work," Carbajal said. "I wouldn't say it's scary, but it is inconvenient."
Lucas Gomez, who works at nearby X-Sport Fitness, got a flat tire from the pothole. Employees at the gym said about 100 people a day complain about the pothole.
"It's not just one; there's a ton of them," Gomez said, eager to show the network of potholes that gave him a flat tire. "It even my bent my rim. It's hard to avoid it."
The pothole, which lies beneath a Sprint billboard declaring "A new network for photographing the first pothole of spring," has expanded from the curb into the second lane of traffic. The rest of the street is marred by at least 10 more potholes.
"Anybody coming off the expressway or coming into our lot has to deal with it. People are saying, 'It's ridiculous,' and I'm the facility's manager, so it is my job," Baker said. "I can show the city pictures and complain, but I can't make them come out."