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Pittsburgh's 311 hotline swamped with pothole calls

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Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 7:09 p.m.

Pittsburgh's 311 hotline fielded more than 1,500 calls during a three-day “pothole blitz” Mayor Bill Peduto ordered this week.

Slightly more than half of the callers reported potholes, and most called during non-business hours, said Sonya Toler, a Peduto spokeswoman.

Toler said 35 percent of the requests — about 262 potholes — have been repaired or are on a schedule to be addressed soon.

Callers from Brookline, Bloomfield, Homewood, Shadyside and East Liberty reported the most potholes, in that order.

Toler said 311 Response Center officials plan to upgrade their reporting and tracking software to increase its accountability to residents who contact the city to report problems.

The number of calls made during the 72-hour period was 40 percent higher than normal, Toler said.

Peduto kicked off what he characterized as an “all hands on deck” blitz with an announcement on Tuesday night encouraging residents to call 311 to report potholes. He said 17 daytime crews would fill potholes with cold patch and 10 crews would work at night. Peduto said he wanted to fill as many potholes as possible before the next cold spell hits the city.

Officials said money for pothole patching was in the budget. Public Works officials blamed an increase in the number of potholes on recent weather extremes that caused temperatures to fluctuate between 50 and minus-9.

Jeremy Boren is an assistant metro editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935.

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