Oakland begins pothole repair blitz 

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Work crews barreling down 81st Avenue and International Boulevard could be heard by 9 a.m. on Tuesday. It was the beginning of something that should have happened a long time ago.

"You know the one two punch of half a billion dollars in deferred maintenance on Oakland streets, plus a series of really wet winters, has left us with the worst pothole problem I have ever seen in my entire life of living here," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

RELATED: 'Pothole Vigilantes' come out at night to fix Oakland streets

Tuesday was the start of Oakland's 2019 Pothole Repair Blitz. The city calls it an "intensive effort" to patch potholes and repair roads all over. Their potholes backlog includes more than 7,000 requests.

District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor said this effort should show that Oakland's commitment towards equity is real.

"The focus on these underserved communities that have been traditionally left out because of institutional racism," Taylor said. "We are addressing that. That's why we're getting started here in District 6."

ABC7 News asked city officials if the blitz was in response to the pothole vigilantes fixing Oakland's roads in the middle of the night. Officials said "no."

"As mayor, I certainly can't condone the vigilantism, but I certainly can condone their energy in rolling up their sleeves and helping their city," Mayor Schaaf said.

"We certainly feel their frustration, but we're doing everything we can to address it," Ryan Russo, the Director of Oakland's Department of Transportation, said.

Earlier this month, the Oakland City Council approved a $100 million, three-year paving plan that will more than triple the pace of road repaving.

"Wow finally," Jose Sanchez, a resident of 81st Avenue, said. "Means a lot to me and us in the neighborhood."

Works crews will put in 12-hour days, three days a week to finish the pothole blitz.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.