Potholes are big and annoying, and many drivers across Houston just can't avoid them. A Local 2 Investigates analysis of Houston pothole complaints and repairs is revealing the streets and intersections with the most potholes.
City records show since January 2012 no place in Houston has had more pothole problems than the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Monroe Road in southeast Houston. Potholes prompted 50 calls to the city's 311 hotline in the last two years.
There were so many calls because some of the potholes kept coming back. Records show city public works crews made repair visits 38 different times to the intersection.
"They come fill it up a little bit, but a few days later they come fill it up," said Sam Brookhim, who owns a Scrubs 4 Less store on Holcombe near Kirby in southwest Houston. "Why in the world do they have to come 100 times to fix one little pothole?"
"I hear about potholes everyday," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "Certainly it's not cost effective to go out over and over repairing the same pothole."
The city public works department says crews repaired more than 50,000 potholes last year. However, the city and Parker admit most were just temporary patch works to fill a pothole. Each patch job can cost $200 to $400, the city says.
The recent drought made things even worse, adding more pothole problems to the mix. Major street construction projects to permanently fix the worst streets can can cost millions of dollars.
"I have billions of dollars in need and hundreds of millions to spend on it," Parker said. "So, it's a matter of prioritization."
Former Houston City Council member Peter Brown is using his nonprofit group Better Houston to advocate for better road engineering. He calls potholes a "hidden tax" that every driver pays in wear and tear on vehicles.
"We've got the wrong approach to fixing potholes," Brown said. "We're trying to put pressure on the city to recognize this is a priority."
If you have patience, the city says a partial solution is on the way. When voters supported the "Rebuild Houston" city charter amendment, more money was set aside to look for bad streets and "rebuild" them.
In fact, the intersections of Holcombe at Greenbriar and Briar Forest at Kirkwood are on the city's re-engineering list. However, construction projects on those areas may still be years away.
"The projects we'll be doing in five years, we'll be doing twice as many," said Stephen Costello, Houston City Council At-Large Position 1. "In 10 years, we'll be doing four times as many. It's one that's going to have momentum. We are surveying the entire city and developing a priority of projects. What we want to do is not continue to do pothole repairs, we want to rebuild the streets."
You can see a map of the city's current pavement condition ratings here.
The worse roads on this map are labeled very high. The roads with fewest problems are ranked very low.
If you see a pothole, the quickest way to get it fixed is to report it to the city. You can call 311, use the city's 311 app on your cellphone.
You can also let the city know about potholes in your neighborhood by attending one of the city's Capital Improvement Plan meetings currently scheduled for your area. You can see the list of meeting times and locations here. For a listing of current city CIP projects click here.
Below is a map of the worst roads:
List of Most Pothole Complaints/Repairs 2012-13
8600 Airport Blvd & 7800 Monroe Rd 77061
38 repair visits
11800 Briar Forest Dr. & 1900 Kirkwood Rd. 77077
34 repair visits
6800 Greenbriar & 2300 W. Holcombe 77030
28 repair visits
2600 S. Shepherd & 2100 Westheimer Rd. 77098
22 repair visits
8500 Beechnut St. & 8000 S. Gessner 77036
22 repair visits
1000 Eldridge Pkwy & Enclave Pkwy 77077
16 repair visits