City of Oakland

OakDOT Announces 2019 Pothole Repair Blitz

Intensive road maintenance campaign will provide immediate, temporary relief for streets not included in massive, recently-adopted paving plan

Oakland, CA – The City of Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) launched today the 2019 Pothole Repair Blitz, an intensive effort to patch potholes and perform road repair across all of Oakland.

The blitz will see bolstered maintenance crews dedicated entirely to pothole patches and similar street repairs, putting in 12-hour days – three days each in Oakland’s seven City Council districts – to make headway addressing pothole-related service requests from residents that were exacerbated by this year’s cold and wet winter. The potholes backlog includes more than 7,000 requests reported to the City through OAK 311. The Pothole Repair Blitz is one of multiple ways Oakland is taking on a $500 million backlog of road repair needs.

On May 7, the City Council approved a three-year paving plan that will more than triple the pace of road repaving by investing $100 million over three years in the long-term repairs that Oakland streets need most. Of that funding, $75 million will go to smaller, local streets that have gone badly neglected for decades. The plan invests citywide based on each area’s share of the worst-condition local streets and each area’s share of Oakland’s underserved communities. It is both a record-setting investment in Oakland road repair in terms of raw dollars, and a groundbreaking initiative in terms of centering equity in the City’s service delivery policies.

Despite the advances of the 2019 Three-Year Paving Plan, there are far more streets in need of repair than resources to immediately provide that repair. Oakland’s backlog of needed street repairs is more than $500 million. Pothole repairs don’t provide the long-term benefits that repaving does, but they are relatively inexpensive, can be done more quickly and can prevent costly and frustrating damage to residents’ automobiles.

“This Pothole Repair Blitz is about demonstrating to our residents that the City will not leave any tools in the toolbox as we radically increase our investments in Oakland streets,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “Our paving plan takes huge strides to proactively address major problems, and our pothole blitz demonstrates our sustained commitment to being a responsive, trustworthy government.”

“We have heard from many residents who support the investments and new policies of the paving plan, but who also needed short-term relief for streets that aren’t slated for full repaving,” OakDOT Director Ryan Russo said. “We’re working with our Council Members and the information residents provide through OAK 311 to target those short-term, immediate solutions for those residents. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the in-house crews we’ve been staffing up, we’re delivering both.”

City crews do street maintenance and pothole patching every week of the year, but during the Pothole Repair Blitz, a special focus of resources bolsters those efforts for three days each in all seven City Council districts. The strategy will focus on completing as many of the existing service requests as possible.

Potholes are holes of disintegrating pavement, created by lack of surface protection. As moisture makes it way under the surface of a roadway, cracks develop below and segments begin to separate. As temperatures fluctuate, the roadway material expands and contracts. This weakens the pavement and is followed by traffic loosening it even more, until it eventually crumbles and pops out. A patch covers the hole, making the roadway smoother and safer to drive, but it cannot address the cracks left beneath the road’s surface. As roadway integrity worsens over time, potholes and other roadway damage can increase exponentially. Most of Oakland’s roads are old, having not been repaved in decades, and without extensive repaving, the pothole problem would be projected to worsen significantly in the coming years.

The good news is that OakDOT has significant new resources to address this problem. In November 2016, Oakland voters approved Measure KK, providing the City with major new resources to help restore infrastructure through capital projects. The 2019 Three-Year Paving Plan is funded entirely by Measure KK.

Residents are encouraged request infrastructure maintenance services and report problems through any of the following means:

Phone: Call 311 from any phone within Oakland. (If calling from outside Oakland, use the number 510-615-5566.)
Mobile App: OAK 311, available free for Apple and Android smart devices (powered by SeeClickFix)

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