The weather is changing which brings us into the pothole formation season. Rain, sleet and snow frequently wash out areas of roads and poses threats to drivers. The stress of cars across the pavement loosens the cement, causing it to crack and crumble. Damages to vehicles can include blown tires, misalignment and wrecks.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation, better known as TDOT, is fixing potholes on the daily, yet there still seems to be a loophole where major potholes can sit for months, even years.
As annoying as potholes can be, it is clear the budget is high.
On a national level, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, says the annual investment required by all levels of government to simply maintain the nation’s infrastructure, including roads, now estimated to be $185 billion per year.
Locally, the stretch from I-24 from Nashville to Clarksville has been riddled with pothole since the 2017 winter storm. Potholes covering entire lanes and spanning up to 4-inches deep causes drivers to swerve to avoid them, injuring themselves and others in the process.
Most of the potholes reside in the right lane on I-24. Those in the right lane take the chance of swerving to avoid the major potholes; a chance many come to regret. Many drive in fear and sometimes even avoid certain roads altogether. A problem that drivers should not have to face, especially if they are in a hurry or dealing with an emergency.
Back in the spring, a large dip formed by mile marker 11 on I-24 causing many drivers to scrape their bottoms of cars. Ironically, by the time TDOT came out to repair the sinking dip, they simply placed a sign that read “Dip ahead, please use caution.” Many found this strange that they used the time to set up signs, but not to use the time to repair the dip.
The large dip was found to be a sinkhole forming under I-24.
When potholes are in the process of being repaired, the backlog of traffic causes a massive headache amongst drivers. The I-24 paving back in March caused major delays in and around Clarksville. The one-lane traffic stretched for several miles between Clarksville and Springfield, causing up to one-hour delays during peak times.
TDOT estimates spending approximately $5.2 million on statewide pothole repair from July 2017 to March 2018. TDOT has spent more revenue for pothole patching through the first week of March than they did the entire year last fiscal year due to the winter storm.
As of October, there has been recent patching along the right lanes from Nashville to Springfield, finally adding some finishing touches on the disastrous lane that claimed many tires.
Domino’s began a humorous campaign to repair potholes on their driver’s frequent delivery routes. Their campaign titled, “Paving for Pizza” accepts nominations for certain cities to be paved. Their mission statement claims potholes cause “irreversible damage to your pizza.”
Funnily enough, those in cities who were nominated say Domino’s did more than their local government. It says a lot about American infrastructure when there is pizza chain filling their potholes. This is a result of a city/state boasting about their low taxes.
Drivers can report Clarksville potholes on the city website. You can make requests to repair potholes anonymously or you can provide your name and email address to track the progress of your request.
Those who hit potholes and damage their vehicles can file a claim through TDOT using their website. Writing a claim must include any relevant facts and details as well as proof of damage from the exact area the pothole is in. The Department of Treasury says it may pay for your damage if the pothole is reported. From July 2016 to December 2017, 488 people filed claims. The state agreed to pay only for nine of those. With all the technicalities it comes to report one, many are disinterested with dealing with more stress on top of their damaged car.
TDOT is supportive of the fact the effort proves fruitful, even though some rough patches still exist. The repairs must continue to be quick and assertive for the betterment of infrastructure in our city.