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Mayor Peduto, Pittsburgh going all-out to patch city potholes

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 2:15 p.m.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Cars slowly navigate the pothole-riddled Negley Run Boulevard on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Cars slowly navigate the pothole-riddled Negley Run Boulevard on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Drivers put their brakes on as they navigate the pothole-riddled Negley Run Boulevard on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.

The squeaky wheel gets its pothole patched.

That was the message on Wednesday from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto as city and state crews set about on a new round of patching Western Pennsylvania's teeth-rattling roads.

Peduto and City Councilwoman Deb Gross urged residents to call the mayor's 311 call center or send a Twitter message to the center via @pgh311 and report erupting craters. Motorists can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD to alert PennDOT about potholes on state roads.

Peduto said crews will respond quicker to potholes with lots of complaints.

“There's one on Butler Street that's probably 10 feet wide and quite long,” said Chuck Gilchrist, 71, of Lawrenceville. “There's another one that the buses swerve to get around. They rattle your teeth when you hit them.”

Peduto will dedicate 30 crews daily through at least Saturday to patch potholes. He said the break in the winter weather gives the city its first opportunity to do the work since the city's first “Pothole Blitz” last month.

The goal is to get a pothole patched within one day of a complaint, he said.

Steve Cowan, spokesman for PennDOT's District 11 headquarters, said patching crews were out all day Wednesday in Allegheny County. He said this winter has been particularly hard on highways. Crews will patch Thursday on West Carson Street between Stanhope Street and the West End Circle.

Since Nov. 12, District 11 has received 174 calls about potholes compared with 42 during the same period last winter, Cowan said.

Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs said county crews do patching as part of routine road maintenance. People can report potholes on county roads by calling 412-350-2513.

The city will have 10 crews working during the day and 20 at night, Peduto said. Each has two or three workers, and they will be paid overtime to get their work done. Peduto did not know how much the cost would be.

He admitted the patching would be a temporary fix at best.

“We're going to patch them again and watch them fall apart again, and then we'll be into the spring paving season,” he said.

Peduto said Negley Run Boulevard running from East Liberty to Highland Park was in such bad shape that it will be milled down to concrete and left that way until it's repaved in late March or early April.

“With freeze-and-thaw that stuff pops very quickly,” Public Works Director Mike Gable said of the patching material.

Staff writers Bob Kerlik and Aaron Aupperlee contributed. Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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