Pothole Damage Claims: Drivers Mostly Not Compensated

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Collision damages from potholes leave many drivers covering the cost themselves. An insurance claim might work (but probably not). The city of Jackson, Mississippi has its share of potholes. Motorists there are subject to the bumps, dings and dents that happen in almost every city – despite its subtropical location that limits its freeze-thaw cycles. Over a four-and-a-half year period, from early 2012 to latter 2016, the municipality paid out $170,000 to owners of vehicles that suffered damage from potholes, utility cuts and sinkholes on the state capital’s streets. From a…read more

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Public Works vs. Infrastructure

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What’s in a word? Does calling our pavement “infrastructure” instead of “public works” in anyway help fix our potholes? Or is it the other way around? In his recent book, “The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure,” Duke University engineering professor Henry Petroski discusses (among many things) common misconceptions about the sources of funds for road construction and maintenance. Where it comes to our nation’s roads, bridges and other components of the physical makeup of civilization, it isn’t always clear what level of government – city, state or federal…read more

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Adios Pavement, Hello Gravel?

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More than just a few municipalities are throwing in the towel on bad pavement. Replacing their potholes are gravel and dirt roads – which have their own issues. Two noteworthy American cities about 1400 miles apart are chewing up rutted, potholed pavement and replacing them with dirt and gravel. The reason this is happening boils down to money – or a lack thereof. But others argue it’s just a matter of poor long-term planning and bad short-term decisions. In a nice neighborhood of Omaha, Nebraska, where homes on large lots…read more

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Tollway Successes Hard to Ignore

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Are toll roads the future of good pavement? The lessons from Colorado’s E-470 might provide us a clue on how to provide pothole-free roadways. The first highway in the U.S. to use open road tolling – where drivers could skip human-staffed barriers and coin baskets, paying instead electronically – celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016. It’s Colorado’s E-470 which links the eastern suburbs of Denver and which has successfully maintained its pay-back schedule to bondholders while becoming a preferred, well-maintained roadway. Further evidence of the E-470 success story is how other…read more

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Pothole Dummy Laughs Off 1,100 Hard Hits in Chicago

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Most drivers avoid potholes wherever and however much possible. But others face the problem head-on. For a living. And for laughs. In April – a prime time for potholes in the wake of late winter/early spring freeze-thaw cycles – a character known as the Pothole Dummy plied the streets of Chicago to see how many potholes he could run over in a five-day stretch. He was successful: 1,110 hits were made over 255 miles, which works out to 4.35 potholes per mile. Why do such a thing? It was a…read more

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