City lays out plans for snow patrol and potholes

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - On Monday, city leaders unveiled their plans to handle any snow emergency that comes our way along with the inevitable occurrence of potholes.

With winter weather just around the corner, Mayor Hogsett, along with DPW officials, outlined their action plan to deal with snowy and icy roads.

DPW crews also practiced some of the routes they will likely drive when the snow arrives. This year, the city bought eleven new trucks and four more are being delivered soon. They’ve also got more than 20,000 tons of salt treatment ready to go.

“We had a very difficult winter last year, we are preparing for another difficult winter this year,” said Hogsett, “and we’ll be even better prepared this year than last, in no small measure because of this new equipment.”

Something else city leaders are also planning for is potholes. The city had a nightmarish season last year, with the city even having to deplete its “rainy day” fund to make emergency road repairs happen.

This year, city officials say they are ready and drivers should expect fewer problems, since city leaders have created a team that is exclusively responsible for patching potholes.

“We will have thirty-six additional DPW workers,” said Hogsett. “Essentially six crews of six workers.”

Last year was abysmal for potholes across Indianapolis. The city’s deferred maintenance finally caught up with it, leaving pockmarked streets, busted cars and angry drivers.

“The investments that the mayor put into street maintenance is really going to play a huge difference,” said Dan Parker, Director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works.

That investment also includes more long-terms fixes made this spring and summer.

“We did a lot of street re-surfacing this year,” said Parker. “We did the strip patching last year which is much more semi-permanent.”

Last year, $14 million went towards road repairs after Mayor Hogsett declared an emergency. Several times, the city launched “repair blitzes” and in total received more than 12,000 service requests to fix potholes.

Hogsett is hoping those six dedicated road improvement crews are what it takes to keep the city on track when it starts to see potholes later this season. He says it’s a more reliable way to operate than using private contractors which, is what the city has been doing for years.  By avoiding the use of contractors, the city hopes to stay on top of the problem faster. The mayor is betting this new approach pays off.

“No matter how difficult this winter is, commuters won’t face the same kind of deterioration because of deferred maintenance that they had to endure last year.” said Hogsett.

City officials say they’ll still be relying on the Mayor’s Action Line and the pothole viewer for drivers and residents to report problems.