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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

City rolls out concrete plans to crack Davis pothole problem

City’s new “Pothole Patch 2020” program combines online reporting and dedicated team to identify, fill potholes on Davis roads

On Feb. 11, the City of Davis announced the start of their Pothole Patch 2020 initiative — a newly formed four-person team of Public Works employees dedicated to the task of finding and filling local potholes, aided by an online community reporting system. 

The Pothole Patch team will address resident pothole reports on a daily basis, in addition to seeking out and fixing potholes independently. The crew has already filled hundreds of Davis potholes, according to a press release

“These rolling repairs are done without significant traffic impacts,” the release read. “In the past two months, the pothole crew has proactively patched over 400 potholes, and the City wants to continue this work with the public’s help.”

Community reporting is a central part of the city’s strategy to identify and fix as many potholes as possible, according to Barbara Archer, the City of Davis Communications Manager.

“We’re looking at this as [a] partnership with city residents — how we help can make our city better,” Archer said. “It has yielded great results.”

The city is encouraging Davis residents to report potholes directly via the city’s updated website. Residents can flag potholes for the crew to fix via the Pothole Patch online reporting tool by emailing reports to pwweb@cityofdavis.org or calling 530-757-5686. 

The program’s page includes instructions on what details to provide in the pothole reports.

“To ensure that the City’s pothole crew can locate each pothole, please provide specific information whenever possible: approximate size, where the hole is on the roadway (use nearest intersection), and if there is a nearby landmark or address that can guide the team,” the site reads. 

Archer said the city received only a handful of pothole reports from community members in the early days of the project. Once the city began promoting the program online, however, there was a significant uptick in resident reporting.

“The city has patched over 400 potholes, starting Dec. 19 to the present,” Archer said. “Some of those were resident-reported, but we were only getting about five to ten resident reports a week. Last week — because of our outreach with the press release and on social media — we got 55 resident reports.”

The Pothole Patch webpage features an FAQ section, discussing in detail how potholes will be filled with polymer concrete and tamped down by repair crews. This process can be performed in the cold months as well as the summer, according to the site. 

“The City of Davis Pothole Project Crew uses cold-patch asphalt repair,” the site read. “This is a quick, simple and cost-efficient fix.” 

The city’s outreach effort follows reports that Davis has some of the worst roads of any city in the region. A staff report presented to the city council during the Jan. 14 meeting highlighted the city’s urgent need for road repairs as well as the huge costs associated with the repairs. Archer, however, said the new program predates the most recent report. 

Davis streets scored an average of 57 on the Pavement Condition Index (PCI), a number between 1 and 100 assessing the general degree of wear on the road pavement, according to the January staff report. This ranking indicates that the average Davis street is in “Fair” condition, but the report notes a “clear downward trend” in the city’s pavement quality over the last decade. Bike path pavement has fared worse with an average 52 PCI rating. 

Davis’ PCI pavement quality ranks among the lowest for cities in the region. In a study, the roads of Woodland, Dixon, Winters, Sacramento and West Sacramento all scored higher on the PCI scale than those of Davis. The roads under county purview scored lowest of all in the area, earning an average “Poor” rating. 

The city set a goal in 2013 to achieve a PCI of 68 for major roadways, 65 for moderate-capacity roads, 60 for residential areas and 68 for bike paths — ratings that would put them in the higher end of “Fair” quality, according to ASTM standards. Improving Davis roads will be expensive, however, especially when added to the cost of fixing similarly degraded pavement on bike paths. 

“The analyses indicate that in order to meet the City’s target PCI values, the City needs to spend approximately $79 million on streets and $38.7 million on bike paths over the next 10 years,” the report read. 

Written by: Tim Lalonde — city@theaggie.org

1 COMMENT

  1. C’mon City. Davis is an amazing City… we have a LOT going for us. But the Pothole Patrol is nothing more than plugging holes in the dam that’s destined towards catastrophic failure. Why isn’t there mention of a strategy to fund the Council-directed goals? And cold patch ac repair is one of the worst long term solutions… just watch the surrounding ac degrade in a very short period of time as cold patch is more rigid than standard ac. A recipe for making things worse. Short term positive press doesn’t equal a systematic long term solution.

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