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Pothole Damage Claims at Record Level in 2014; Repairs Also on Record Pace

By Mike Brockway | May 29, 2014 6:02am
Chicagoans Vent about Potholes
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CHICAGO — With pothole damage claims at record levels and pothole repairs expected to top the most ever in Chicago, the brutal winter is still being felt on city streets.

The city this year has received 3,668 claims from drivers who say potholes damaged their cars. That's the most ever — and 1,200 more than the number of complaints received in the past four years combined.

Mike Brockway breaks down the numbers on DNAinfo Radio:

In those years, the most the City Clerk's office processed was 817 in 2011. That's not much more than the 694 introduced for reimbursement at Wednesday's City Council meeting alone.

"Since we've been keeping track, it's been off the charts," City Clerk spokesman Patrick Corcoran said.

Claims are expected to continue rolling in for at least another month and possibly beyond that, Corcoran said.

"We anticipate we'll continue to get them through June," Corcoran said. "They come in every day. There's another uptick when there's excessive amounts of rain."

Pothole repairs in the city also are expected to hit record territory, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

As of the beginning of Thursday, city transportation department pothole repair crews had filled 545,558 potholes. That number is expected to eclipse the 630,000 filled in all of 2013 — the most potholes the department has ever repaired, city officials said.

"This winter was a brutal one," transportation department spokesman Pete Scales said. "The snow and fluctuations in temperatures — between freezing and thawing — played havoc on our roadways, causing countless potholes to form and making many of our streets a challenge to drive. But CDOT crews have been very hard at work addressing those potholes."

 2014 is turning out to be the city's worst year on record for pothole repairs and damage claims.
2014 is turning out to be the city's worst year on record for pothole repairs and damage claims.
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Scales said earlier this month that repair crews had been fixing as many as 8,000 potholes a day, a record clip. However, some work crews have since been shifted to street repaving.

The public outcry from the sheer volume of potholes brought on by this year's harsh winter forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to add many extra pothole crews earlier this year.

Vehicle owners can get reimbursed for damage caused by potholes, but it's a lengthy process than can take 10 months to three years. Motorists filing a claim can expect to receive no more than 50 percent of the total damage amount, according to the City Council's Committee on Finance.

Drivers need to download, print and fill out the one-page damage claim form on the city clerk's website. Corcoran said the most important items to include on the form are the date, time and location of the pothole incident.

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