City of Houston adds $10M for pothole repairs


by Alice Barr / KHOU 11 News

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 11:26 PM

HOUSTON -- It's a rite of passage, when passing over Houston roads: "Having my car bounce through the potholes and just wincing," said Houston driver Alex Hollander.

But Wednesday night, the Houston City Council approved 10 million more dollars for pothole repairs, a popular idea with many drivers.

"I would love to see the roads better sooner," said Rachel So.

But city leaders say just because there's more money, don't expect problem spots to get filled in too much quicker, when you call them in to the city’s 311 hotline.

"Our goal right now is to kind of catch up to what we have not been able to get done because of funding issues," said Alvin Wright, Public Information Officer for the City of Houston’s Public Works Department.

Road maintenance is a monumental task, in a super-sized city, where there's never quite enough cash.

"So what would really be an ideal figure for the amount of money that you could use?" asked KHOU11 News Reporter Alice Barr. Wright answered, with a laugh, “We could use as much as council wants to give us."

They'll start with the 10 million, and here's how it'll work: "We look at what's worst first," said Wright.

One simple asphalt patch can run the city from $100 to $600. They plan to spend $4 million on those most basic repairs.

A step up from there, another $3.5 is slated for new overlays, leveling out larger stretches of road.

Then there's a full panel replacement, at $20,000 a pop. The city plans to make $1.5 million worth of those repairs.

The final million dollar piece of the pie will go toward bridge maintenance and other types of pavement repairs.

"You can't really drive in the right lane because of all the potholes, so I think it's definitely a great idea," said So.

The extra cash supplements more long-term projects, and major road reconstruction, the city already has in the works.

"Over a period of time, they will notice a difference, because we'll be kicking in more of our rebuild Houston projects as well, so they'll see it," said Wright.

And hopefully they’ll feel it a little less.

Public works leaders say the drought of 2011 is a large part of why they're so far behind in repairs. The ground shrank during the drought and expanded after it, wreaking havoc on the roads.