uFixIt: Problematic potholes finally get attention

September 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
When potholes became a problem in the Castro Valley Hills, Karl Herzer took the problem to ABC7's uFixIt, part of uReport powered by YouTube.

For the past three months, every time Herzer walked out the front door of his Castro Valley home, he has had to go past two large potholes in the street.

"It's right out my front door, so I look at it every morning and every night," he said.

Herzer says Zeno Street gets a lot of traffic in the mornings and afternoons, when parents drop off and pick up their kids from the nearby elementary school. He says the potholes put the kids in danger.

"You could have a child crossing the street, unaware that a car is coming and if that car were to lose control, try to swerve, miss the child, miss the pothole, any number of things can happen," Herzer said.

He was so concerned, he spray painted the potholes so drivers would see them more clearly. He also sent an e-mail to the Alameda County Public Works Agency with a photo of the potholes more than seven weeks ago. He says he never got a response.

So Herzer sent ABC7 video of the problem and asked for help getting them filled.

"This is about a two wheel barrow pile of six to twelve-inch sized chunks of asphalt that have exited from these two potholes," Herzer said in the video he sent to ABC7.

Charles Swann heads the crews that maintain the 500 miles of roadway in unincorporated Alameda County. On the same day ABC7 called, he sent workers to put a temporary patch on the two potholes.

"In this instance we, we weren't aware of it; I don't know why we didn't get the e-mail, but we didn't," Swann said. "Alameda County, we do have a policy of trying to fix all potholes within 72 hours."

Crews were back the next day to patch another pothole that had been forming near the top of the hill. And, Swann says, they will be back again later this week to do a more permanent fix -- 100 feet of new asphalt on the downhill lane.

"We'll come in, we'll grind out the material and replace it with new asphalt," Swann said.

Herzer says he is happy the potholes are being fixed. But he hopes for a quicker response next time, after the rainy season creates fresh potholes.

"I'd like to see some sort of a regular pattern of care and review; I think it's been at least 18 months, if not two years, since the last time we had a pothole repaired in this area," he said.

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