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Pothole Patrol

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS2/FOX28 ) Driving through moon craters as your car makes rattling noises youve never heard before.  Thats what its like navigating some streets in Cedar Rapids right now and city leaders are the first to admit it.  Tuesday morning they called a meeting to make sure drivers know they are very much aware of the proliferation of potholes and have a battle plan, complete with a few new weapons.  Public Works Director Dave Elgin says crews could end up repairing 100,000 holes after one of the most damaging winters ever.  He says fall rain, numerous snow storms and a total of more than one month of days below zero have cracked pavement and caused the frost layer to buckle roads.

Elgin, along with Mayor Ron Corbett and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz unveiled three new hot boxes.  The heated units, mounted on trucks, keep the patching materials warm right up until the moment workers shovel the chunky, tar coated material into a pothole.  In theory, it makes it easier to pack down the mixture with a shovel and it adheres better to the sides of the hole so it stays in place longer. Elgin says theyre also asking for help from drivers and homeowners.  Anyone who has a monster pothole in their neighborhood or on their daily commute, can take a picture of it and send it to the public works department, If there is a pothole out there that might otherwise cause damage to someones vehicle, we want to know about it immediately.      

Even as the temporary patching begins, Pomeranz says the city is also focused on more permanent solutions for the worst roads. Thats where the one cent sales tax approved by voters last November should make a difference.  He says the program, now called Paving for Progress, will  mean $20-million dollars every year for resurfacing and reconstruction, Over this five to ten year period the streets of Cedar Rapids are going to be significantly, significantly improved and I think the citizens will be proud of how we use their tax dollars.

Pomeranz says some of that repair work will start just as soon as the snow stops. For now, the war on potholes continues, one crater at a time.  If you want to report a monster in your neighborhood, you can find a link to the Cedar Rapids Public Works Department on this website.   
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