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Potholes in many streets follow Wichita’s unusually wet weather

A crew from Wichita Public Works and Utilities work on potholes on Waco north of Murdock on Thursday afternoon. (May 28, 2015)
A crew from Wichita Public Works and Utilities work on potholes on Waco north of Murdock on Thursday afternoon. (May 28, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

May’s steady rains have sprouted an unwelcome crop around Wichita: potholes.

“The demand is up – no question,” Joe Pajor, deputy director of the Department of Public Works and Utilities, said Thursday.

There are so many potholes around Wichita these days that maintenance crews are on pace to match last year’s patch total sometime in the next few weeks. Crews have patched 44,000 potholes so far this year, compared to 56,558 all of last year.

“It’s been wet,” Pajor said. “The streets are old. I think this is a combination of weather conditions and the fact that we have streets that are more vulnerable to potholes.”

Over the past couple of weeks, 12 two-person crews have been devoted to patching potholes each day, Pajor said.

Residents have reported three times the number of potholes this month as they did last year, statistics show. They’re using the Wichita Report app on their smartphones or calling 316-268-4013 to report new potholes.

“With all this rain, we are literally inundating the streets,” Pajor said, and when a patch or vulnerable area is submerged it’s far more vulnerable to breaking down than if the water is just flowing over the street.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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