Richmond addresses pothole problem

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The City of Richmond is back at work, tackling its growing pothole problem. They're attacking the worst potholes first, using a material that's meant to be a permanent fix.  Some drivers aren't so sure that's the case.

It's called Unique Paving Material, or UPM, and it's commonly used on roads throughout the country. Billed as an all-weather, permanent patch, it's going into some of the worst potholes in the city. All day Tuesday, crews went from spot to spot applying the material. They were working from a list of about 60 potholes deemed to be the most dangerous to drivers.

Some drivers are skeptical that the patching effort will be effective.

"I don't think we need a rubber band fix. By the time April showers come, the same potholes will be right back there," said Cassandra Ellis.

"We need a long-term fix, not something that's just going to be temporary, then the next storm it's going to turn around and be the same thing," said Marquita Robinson.

If past experience is any indicator, such skepticism is well-founded. One large pothole on Midlothian Turnpike has been patched already this winter, but returned with a vengeance. Now it's been patched again with the "permanent" material.

The state of the roads is taking a toll on drivers, and their cars.

"My friend just reported that he hit a pothole and completely bent his rim, and the back glass shattered," said Robinson.

Auto mechanics like Jerome Tyler are seeing a steady stream of pothole victims.

"We've had cars come in where the suspension is pushed back, exhaust torn off, lost clamps and hangers. Worst case scenario we have bent rims, tire problems," said Tyler.

Meanwhile, city crews are making slow progress, filling one street crater at a time. It may not be a permanent solution, but drivers say it's better than nothing. 

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