Pothole repairs take over 200 days to complete in New Orleans on average, officials report

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 4:27 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The city of New Orleans took at least six months on average to resolve most pothole complaints while other service requests remained pending indefinitely, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

According to the OIG’s findings, the city’s response to thousands of pothole service requests was “significantly slower” than other cities. Laura Maneaux, a New Orleans resident, says the problem is a “pain in the butt.”

On average, the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) took 204 days to resolve pothole requests from Jan. 2019 through May 2021, the report says. Other service requests were left pending indefinitely. The average time for pending requests at the time of the OIG’s inspection was 348 days.

Even considering inclement weather, staffing, and the severity of the pothole, the OIG says taking 204 days to resolve pothole requests “should not be considered reasonable in any circumstance.”

The report also says the city does not have “defined goals or performance measures” for completing pothole repairs within a specific number of days. Instead, “service requests were left unaddressed for up to nearly two and a half years.”

New Orleans pot hole
New Orleans pot hole(WVUE)

According to Inspector General Edward Michel, “the presence of potholes on our streets is a quality of life issue for citizens. The city must work more efficiently to respond in a timely manner to service requests.”

“It’s causing problems,” Maneaux says. “It ripples back to your car with tires and those things under the hood that are very expensive to get repaired.”

Summer Anderson takes her daughter to school at St. Mary’s Dominican in Uptown.

“In the past two and a half years, I’ve had to replace the shocks on my car twice,” she says.

DPW’s acting director, Josh Hartley, says the majority of those cases are assigned within two weeks of the initial report. Some cases are referred to other agencies following inspection.

Hartley says DPW is working with 311 to resolve an issue with duplicate cases where multiple complaints are received for the same pothole. The department has also purchased new asphalt equipment.

The OIG has recommended DPW adopt policies and performance measures to fill potholes in a reasonable amount of time and work to clear the backlog of service requests.

Citizens can submit service requests at nola311.org/service-request.

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