Walker County Public Works tackling pothole problem

Walker County Public Works tackling pothole problem

May 28th, 2018 by Myron Madden in Local Regional News

Damaged pavement and potholes create obstacles for southbound motorists in the left lane on Dayton Pike in Chattanooga at state Highway 153. Across the state line, Walker County is working to address its own potholes.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

POLL: Do you have a pothole problem in your neighborhood?

Walker County is taking pothole repair seriously, officials say.

Since January, Walker County Public Works has patched or filled in 1,623 potholes, Commissioner Shannon Whitfield told residents during a meeting earlier this month.

"So hopefully, there's one near you that's been filled," he said. "I know we've got them everywhere."

Of those repairs, 609 were made in the month of March alone, while 294 were made in the month of April, the commissioner said.

Walker County spokesman Joe Legge said the fluctuation is not unusual.

Each month, outside factors such as weather play a role in the amount of time and resources public works can devote to pothole repair, he said. Other factors that may play a role include manpower and availability of materials, Legge added. With fewer weather-related issues such as clogged storm drains or fallen trees to contend with in March, the department was able to make potholes more of a priority, he said.

Walker County residents can report potholes and other issues in the community via the iWorQ app. (Screenshot)

Walker County residents can report potholes and other...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

County officials began tracking the number of potholes repaired just this year in response to frustrations voiced by locals who said government officials weren't doing enough to address the area's roads, said Whitfield.

"Potholes and depreciating roads are a significant challenge in Walker County," Legge acknowledged.

Though no records predating 2018 exist, Legge said Walker County spent $135,000 filling potholes between 2012 and 2017. So far in 2018, the county has spent about $10,000 on pothole repair, he said.

With hundreds of more potholes still waiting to be filled, county representatives encourage residents to alert them to new problem areas by calling Walker County Public Works at 706-375-5601 to create a work order.

"Since there [are] over 950 individual county roads in Walker County, we rely on the public to keep us informed when issues arise," Legge said.

Residents also can report potholes using the new iWorQ Service Request mobile app, which Whitfield unveiled last month. The app, which can be downloaded on both Apple and Android devices, allows local residents to file "citizen requests" when they spot issues in need of repair throughout the community. Residents also can use the app to snap photos of the problems with their smartphones and submit them with work orders.

To further address Walker's transportation issues, the county has enlisted an engineer to study all of the roads. The engineer will grade each road and bridge on a scale of 1 to 100, assessing both paving quality and safety based on Georgia Department of Transportation specifications.

"The review process will show us where there are clusters of roads that are severe, in addition to which roads are more heavily traveled and create the most safety concerns," Legge said. "Then, we will be able to make decisions based on data on which roads to focus on first."

Contact Myron Madden at mmadden @timesfreepress.com.


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