Pothole problems: how our cities tackle rough roads

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Potholes pop up every spring, and each city has a different approach to tackling them.

David Mordue wasn't living in the Tri-Cities when his car was damaged by a pothole.

"I hit a pothole, messed up my ball joint and my alignment," he said.

David ended up paying almost $500 out of pocket. Buffalo, New York, refused to reimburse him for the cost.

Luckily for us, local cities don't get as many claims. The occasional winter snow doesn't do lasting damage to the roads.

"The rest of the year, everything's pretty good," David said.

Action News learned Pasco and Kennewick each spend between $1 million and $2 million every year on pavement preservation, so problem spots don't surface.

Richland has a road projects budget, but it tackles potholes more on a case-by-case basis. Richland's goal is to get a pothole repaired within 24 hours of learning about it.

"If they're not repaired quickly, they can cause even further damage, which can be very costly if you have to reconstruct the road," says Richland Public Works Manager Jeff Peters.

The cost to reconstruct a road versus an overlay or chip-seal is roughly ten times more expensive. Richland spends $25,000 a year on patching asphalt.

City officials tell us that Elliot Street in Richland is one of the worst spots in the entire city for potholes. It's not only an old road, but it's very well used. That makes it a trouble spot for work crews.

Richland's trouble spots for potholes are neighborhoods where the roads haven't been touched since the 60s.

East Pasco and neighborhoods in Kennewick have rough roads, but very few potholes.

David is just happy he hasn't seen too many gaping holes in our cities' attack plan for potholes.

"If everybody's got their own system, I would probably pursue the most cost-effective one right now," he said.

Kennewick and Pasco haven't had claims from pothole damage to cars in several years. Richland has only had a handful in the past three years.