Due to heavy rains in the past few weeks, the increased number of potholes has been problematic in Fullerton.
â€œWe tend to see potholes develop a lot more. During storm events you have to be aware of potholes. Water is asphaltâ€™s worst enemy,â€ said Dan Diaz, street maintenance superintendent for the City of Fullerton.
Water percolates under the road surface and attack the streetâ€™s base material, causing settling, which creates a void beneath the asphalt. When enough base-support washes away, the asphalt cannot support the weight of vehicles and potholes develop, Diaz said.
In 2009, Diazâ€™s crew members repaired approximately 5,000 potholes and they expect 2010′s total will be higher, due to heavy rains that increased pothole development by an estimated 30 percent. He said that his crews have noticed an increase in pothole development on such heavily traveled streets as Berkeley Avenue, Raymond Avenue and West Valencia Drive. Potholes that are not repaired can be a road hazard and a potentially serious threat to driver safety.
â€œThey (drivers) need to be aware and drive cautiously,” Diaz said.
After driving over a pothole, Michelle Chaker, psychology major, noticed something was wrong with her tire when she reached her driveway.
â€œIâ€™ve gotten a flat tire from a pothole once. I had to carefully drive to the gas station to put air in my … [tire],â€ Chaker said.
There are many claims for tire repairs and alignments, because the pavement around the pothole deteriorates. Potholes continue to grow because of the weight of vehicles, Diaz said.
â€œSometimes it changes the shift in your tire rotation. My friend had to get her tires re-rotated because of potholes,â€ said pre-nursing major, Michelle Johanis.
Diaz relies on the public and employees working in the city to inform him about “street deficiencies,” as he calls them. Diaz encourages the public to report pothole problems to the Fullerton Maintenance Services Department, so his crew members can address the situations as quickly as they can.
The department improves programs with technology and by tracking locations that need repair in order to maintain their infrastructure and extend the life of the roadway.
â€œWe do routine inspections of roadways and we document areas that need repairs. We do preventive maintenance projects by going out and sealing the streets,â€ Diaz added.
Even though the departmentâ€™s budget is impacted due to the economic downturn, funding has not decreased.
â€œI think that weâ€™re doing the best we can with what we have,â€ Diaz said.
Diaz suggests that the city should create new streets, rather than patching them.
â€œOur infrastructure needs re-construction. Weâ€™re trying to buy time until roads get re-structured,” Diaz said.
Residents can call the Fullerton Maintenance Services Department at (714) 738-6897. Requests can be made by logging onto the city Web site at Ci.fullerton.ca.us and going to the Maintenance Services Department section. Citizens will find the heading â€œRequest a Serviceâ€ and under that will be a link to an online form to report potholes.