4:40 AM / Saturday September 23, 2023

4 Mar 2010

Streets Department stands ready for pothole season

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March 4, 2010 Category: Local Posted by:

The winter’s excessive snow and extreme temperatures have taken a toll on the City’s roads. Streets Department crews are already on duty, actively repairing street defects citywide. Citizens are encouraged to help identify street defects. Streets Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson said, “Citizens can be our best inspectors.


Whether you see a pothole, or a ditch unraveling, or the presence of water at the location, citizens should contact the Streets Department Customer Affairs Unit at (215) 686-5560 or 3-1-1 to report the defect. Citizens may also visit the Streets Department’s website at


Deputy Commissioner for Transportation Steve Buckley explains that potholes are created by moisture from snow, ice and rain and severe cold, causing the street surface to crack, which allows water to seep in, expand and displace paving material. Residents should be aware that not all holes are potholes. Other conditions, such as sinkholes or utility cutouts, may require additional inspections and more extensive repairs.


Street defects come in a variety of shapes and sizes and accurate reporting can expedite repairs, “Potholes tend to be a bowl-shaped defect. Ditches are usually cleanly cut rectangles. Cave-ins or sinkholes are large depressions with an area of four to ten feet and usually block a lane. Each defect is repaired differently, so you can help us better serve you by properly identifying the issue.” Photos of these defects are available on the Streets Department’s website and attached to these release.


The City of Philadelphia’s typical pothole season starts in mid-March and goes through April. The Streets Department is currently running its pothole patcher to address the large number of potholes that have appeared in the wake of the early February snow storms. This vehicle requires just one operator and can fill as many as 60 potholes in day.


When reporting a street defect please be ready to provide the following information:


1. Be prepared to describe the defect

a. Is it a pothole, ditch, or cave-in?


2. What is the approximate size of the defect?


3. Do you see or hear water in the hole?

Provide specific information can help ensure that we make a repair at the proper location. We encourage details such as:

–“in the southbound driving lane at 1234 Glenwood Avenue”

–“in the parking lane at 123 S. 19th Street”

–or “in the western crosswalk of the intersection of Arch and 3rd Streets”

4. Please retain your service request number for future reference.


Pothole repairs should be made within three days. Ditches cut for utility work will be made safe through temporary repair work within a week, and will be permanently restored in the spring months. Cave-ins will be made safe, but permanent repairs may take several weeks depending on the nature of the issue. All locations reported will be investigated and addressed or referred to the appropriate agency as necessary.


Citizens can contact PennDOT directly at their maintenance hotline, 1-800-FIX-ROAD (349-7623) for defects on State Routes. Road defects within SEPTA’s right-of-way (in the area between trolley tracks and within 18 inches on either side, whether in a City street or a State road) can be reported to SEPTA Customer Service at (215) 580-7852 or online at .

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