uFixIt: No permanent fix for giant Oakland potholes

November 19, 2010 7:02:41 PM PST
Oakland has some of the worst streets in the Bay Area, but residents and public officials say one road in the Oakland Hills is probably the worst in the city.

Lester Feldman sent ABC7 video and photos of the huge potholes in the roadway that runs behind his home in the Oakland Hills.

"The largest one is something like 20 feet by 20 feet by about 2 feet deep," Feldman said.

A garbage truck got stuck on the road two months ago trying to turn around to avoid that pothole and had to be towed. Feldman says many of his neighbors are afraid to drive there anymore.

"Pieces of cars have fallen off from hitting the various bad spots," he said. "If you hit the pothole unsuspectingly, you could lose control of your vehicle."

Vitaly Troyan is Oakland's interim director of Public Works. He agrees that the road could be home to the biggest pothole in Oakland. After ABC7 called, he sent a crew to patch the worst potholes, but, he says, it is just a temporary fix.

"The patch will last one to three years and one of two things will happen, either the patch itself will start to fail, or a piece of the pavement next to the patch will fail," he said,

Troyan says the city does not have the money to repave the roadway, which is the only long-term solution. Oakland's public works agency has laid off 100 employees in the last two years, including the city's only paving crew. The budget situation is so bad, he says roads that should be repaved every 30 years are now scheduled to be repaved every 80 years.

"A city that is having trouble retaining police does not have the resources to fix the streets it needs to fix," Troyan said.

And since federal and state money can only be used to fix major arterial roadways, Troyan says conditions on Oakland's residential streets are going to get worse. That is bad news for people like Feldman.

"Even if we wanted to go in and fix it ourselves we would still need permits to go and work in a city street," Feldman said.

Troyan says Oakland needs to spend $23 million a year to maintain Oakland's roads. Next year, he will only have $4 million to do the job.

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