City crews race to fix potholes across San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Daniel Rodriguez is spending this Friday zig-zagging from one San Jose neighborhood to another, from the eastern foothills to Blossom Valley. He's part of a two-truck city road crew that is trying to repair potholes along San Jose's 2400 miles of streets. Fifty complaints came in on Monday following last weekend's storms. He says he can stop and fill potholes with asphalt at up to 120 locations in a day. Most are on a list the Department of Transportation has generated from phone calls and reports filed via a city app. However, Rodriguez says he will also stop and fix potholes he sees along the way.

Stop and talk to any San Jose customer at a gas station, as ABC7 News did at Cottle and Santa Teresa, and drivers start sharing their pothole complaints. One driver said she was nearly struck by another car whose driver suddenly veered in her path to avoid a pothole. Another driver said she was driving on a street where a series of potholes caused her vehicle to shimmy.

Last fall, San Jose was identified as having the second worst road conditions of major cities in the U.S. by a nonprofit group called TRIP in Washington, D.C. San Francisco was ranked number one.

Colin Heyne, public information officer for San Jose's transportation department, says the goal is to fix every complaint of a pothole within 48 hours. It says its success rate is 95 percent.

Road maintenance crew worker Rodriguez acknowledged that fixing potholes in a band-aid approach as some road surfaces have been so damaged from wear and tear and from storms that the real fix is repaying. Still, he says asphalt patches can last for a few years, depending on the size and depth of the pothole.

Is it OK for cars and trucks to drive on the fresh asphalt repairs? Yes, says Rodriguez. He says it helps to tamp down the asphalt, even though he and others on his crew try to tamp it down with their hand tools.
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