Potholes

What causes a pothole?

Over time, cracks will develop in pavements and allow water, ice, and incompressibles into the pavement structure. The material under the pavement may begin to erode, causing the pavement to break or chip and eventually form potholes or larger cracks.  Repeated freezing and thawing temperatures combined with wet pavement cause the cracks to further expand and deteriorate under the weight of traffic.  In many instances, this process may cause potholes to develop overnight where none may have existed.  High-traffic intersections and bus-stops are also prone to potholes–causing pavement to crack as a result of the weight of vehicles resting on the pavement.

What is your response time for filling potholes and why is it sometimes not met?

Generally, our response time is within 24-48 hours.  However, during harsh winter seasons where streets may have hundreds of potholes, this timeframe may not always be met.  There are several reasons why we may not meet this timeframe:   (1) The pothole is off the side of the road. Sometimes potholes form on the side of the road where drainage is poor and the area is used for parking. If the pothole is in the city’s right of way we will repair it. (2) It can’t be repaired through simple pothole-patching.  Some defects that are reported as potholes are really some other kind of problem that can’t be repaired the same way as a pothole. Sometimes the road is rutted or rough, a possible void or sink hole, or a crumbled street.  This requires a longer-term fix and is submitted for a major repair. (3)The pothole may be on a state-owned (non-city owned street).   IDOT owns several streets within the area and have their own procedures for repairing potholes.  We do, however, coordinate with them and may repair some of their potholes on an emergency basis when public safety is at risk.

Why are there so many potholes during the winter and spring?

The high moisture conditions of the winter and spring months, combined with the freeze-thaw temperature fluctuations cause significant stress on pavements which lead to the formation cracks and potholes.  The patching material that is placed in the large cracks and potholes is often only a temporary fix.  Snow plowing operations can scrape patching material out of the hole and constant traffic can push and shove the patching material out of the hole, leaving the hole exposed again to moisture and freezing temperatures.  Water in the hole will erode away the surrounding pavement making the hole larger. You can expect a greater accumulation of potholes during winter seasons with high snow fall or spring seasons with high rain fall.  Potholes may also form when the weather is sunny and clear, after a storm,  due to large amounts of runoff from melting snow

How can I report a pothole?

Various methods are available to report a pothole.  These include emailing or calling Public Works and submitting a service request, or using the See-Click-Fix mobile app available for free download.

May I request a cone or barricade for potholes on my street? 

You may request cones or barricades for potholes on your residential street; however, Public Works will determine whether the placement of the cone or barricade may be more detrimental to traffic flow and take other measures to alleviate the problem.

When will your pothole patching crews get to my neighborhood to fix potholes (after harsh winter seasons or spring storms)?

Pothole patching crews use a systematic approach to fixing potholes.  Rather than moving (often heavy) equipment to respond to a single pothole on one side of  town and then responding to another request at the opposite end of town, we localize our approach to make the most efficient use of assets.  However, we do respond to emergency-repairs with a smaller crew when available.

What kind of equipment does the City use to fix potholes?

Public Works has various pieces of equipment to fix potholes but most pothole patching requires the physical labor of our crews shoveling asphalt from the back of truck beds or front-end loader buckets (scoops).  Additionally, Public Works has equipment designed specifically for pothole-patching.  These include:  (1) Our Pothole Sprayer-Injector truck which provides a more-efficient manner of patching potholes and  (2) our Hot-asphalt (warmer) truck which makes shoveling hot-asphalt much easier for our public workers.

Public Works also rents equipment from time-to-time when an inordinate amount of potholes form during harsh winter or spring seasons.

What can I do to help?

While we appreciate the offer from citizens to help out with patching potholes, Public Works crews are trained to operate in hazardous conditions (such as traffic) and require additional training.  The best thing a citizen can do is report a pothole and slow down when they see crews patching potholes on city streets.

The City encourages citizens to report potholes to the Operations Division at 217-403-4700, between 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please provide City staff with your name, address, telephone number, location of pothole, and as much detailed information as possible. This information is very helpful to staff trying to respond to your request. After business hours, on weekends, or holidays you will receive a pre-recorded message with general instructions and emergency information. Please leave detailed information to ensure prompt response. You can also email the department at publicworks@ci.champaign.il.us or try the City’s free mobile reporting app SeeClickFix (available through the iTunes store or Google Play for Android).