Chicago works to fill potholes aggravated by record-cold - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Chicago works to fill potholes aggravated by record-cold

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Hundreds of cars are heading to the repair shop on Monday after being damaged by potholes all over the area. They were exacerbated by last week's winter wallop of snow and record-cold temperatures.

Crews are trying to repair them on city streets and alleys as they pop up, but right now it looks like they are fighting a losing battle. From the looks of things at noon on Monday, they're doing their best.

Potholes can be created when water seeps into cracks in a road and freezes, which causes the pavement to expand. The brittle roads can also be damaged by heavy equipment like snowplows. Crews have their work cut out for them.

On 31st Street, just east of the Dan Ryan, and FOX 32 news observed cars swerving left and right to avoid the humongous potholes. It was also a bumpy ride on Lake Shore Drive Monday morning. The potholes on the South Side are taking their toll too.

Flat tires are a too common occurrence when potholes are present, as are accidents that occur when vehicles cannot make it to safe ground off the road. That means delays during rush hour, headaches for vehicle owners and lots of work for local body shops.

By 10 a.m. Monday, pothole repair crews were working on Lake Shore Drive near Roosevelt. They've been playing catch-up for days on major thoroughfares – and apparently, taking the side streets won't help either. The snow is melting, but big piles of the white stuff are still taking residence on the smaller roads in the city.

Pothole-filling crews from the city's Department of Transportation will be on the street seven days a week, working extra hours earlier than usual this year in an effort to repair roadway holes and pits, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Friday.

Some of the 22 CDOT pothole repair crews started working throughout the weekend and overnight Friday, one week earlier than they did in 2013, according to the statement.

"All city departments are working to ensure our roadways are safe, and this includes repairing the many potholes that formed as a result of the 23 inches of snow we've had this year and the bitter cold temperatures earlier this week," Emanuel said in the statement. "City workers have done a tremendous job plowing and salting streets and making pothole repairs in all neighborhoods to keep Chicago moving."

Workers have already filled more than 20,000 potholes across the city this year, using more than 330 tons of patching material, the statement said. The city repaired more than 625,000 roadway potholes in 2013.

In northwest Indiana, Cline Avenue was closed between I-80/94 and Columbus Drive over the weekend, so that Indiana Department of Transportation crews could repair the large potholes uninterrupted. The road was also deemed unsafe because of them. Cline Avenue reopened Monday morning.

A recent report by the city's inspector general found that over the years, the city has had some problems keeping up with the number of 311 calls and complaints about potholes.

But the city still says if you've got a complaint about a pothole, you should start by calling 311 to let the city know about it. They'll get a crew out there for repairs as soon as possible.

While 311 is well known to city residents, what may not be is that you file a claim to receive reimbursement if your vehicle has been damaged.

Several dozen motorists have already this month submitted claims for reimbursement. The one-page form is on the City Clerk's website.

Requirements for filing a claim include informing police where the pothole was that your vehicle hit, what exactly happened and a either a full paid receipt or two written estimates of repair costs. Photos are preferred, but not required.

Also, you'll need to file the claim in person or by mail it via the U.S. Post Office.

"With the numbers being what they are right now, yeah, it's going to be a big year. We're going to process a lot of these claim forms," Chicago City Clerk spokesman, Patrick Corcoran said.

Officials said it could take six months or more for the City Council's Finance Committee to review and pay damage costs, with more filing claims every day.

Garage managers, though, said most pothole victims have no idea that City Hall offers reimbursement.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

RELATED:

Chicago's pothole season begins

Rahm Emanuel visits crews filling potholes

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