Cities use money, manpower to smoothen 'Land of 10,000 potholes'

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Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter last week said what many of us are feeling.

"Our state has turned into the land of 10,000 potholes," she said at a Capitol press conference, the Pioneer Press reported.

Potholes, potholes, potholes. There are a lot to fix – possibly twice as many as last year – which means time and money. The state's Twin Cities have plans to try to smooth things out as soon as possible though.

KARE 11 reports St. Paul is hiring back 21 laid off seasonal public employees to help fill the chasms. According to the station, the public works director says the move increases pothole fixing manpower by 35 percent, costing the city about $80,000 over the next two weeks.

The city will probably need the help. Mayor Chris Coleman outlined a "Terrible 20" during his state of the city address Monday – the worst streets in St. Paul right now, which he said will cost $70 million to fix.

MPR put together a map highlighting the streets (and judging by the comments on the story, there are plenty more in not-too-great shape). The Star Tribune listed the top 10, along with the estimated rebuild cost for each. Wheelock Parkway, from Victoria to Arcade streets, came in as the most expensive as an $11 million fix.

Minneapolis is aware of the problem too.

The Star Tribune reports the Transportation and Public Works Committee approved an extra $1 million in pothole spending. It will go to the city council for approval. The city normally has six crews dedicated to treating potholes; if funding comes through it could increase to nine, the paper says.

The Star Tribune as some staggering numbers.

Minneapolis has gotten 1,030 pothole reports through its city website and calls to 311, and 100 more reports during March of 2014 than it had in March of 2013; St. Paul had 898 notices, as of Monday.

And it's not just cars. A post on the blog Streets.mn detailed the experience of riding a bike – which we're known to like to do – during pothole season. But he tried doing it blindfolded.

Potholes can be reported, but have to be directed to the right agency. MnDOT is responsible for fixing potholes on state highways and interstates. You can make a report at this website. A pothole anywhere else needs to be reported to your local city or county.

Some places – such as Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis – take reports online. Ramsey County (pothole@co.ramsey.mn.us) and the city of St. Paul (potholes@ci.stpaul.mn.us) use an e-mail system. Though St. Paul can be notified via phone application too, using the city's Saint Paul Connect app.

Technologically savvy, yes, but not quite as 21st century as Boston – the city has a phone app called "StreetBump" that collects pothole data from drviers and sends it back to the city.

Many other areas in Minnesota require a call. You can find an official list of cities here, or counties here.

The frigid winter exacerbated the always problematic pothole season – state transportation officials estimated there'd be twice as many holes in the road this year compared to last.

Lawmakers were considering $15 million of additional funding for potholes repairs around the state. But that plan quickly hit a bump in the road due to funding issues.

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