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Pothole Hotline in Operation

02/26/2021
Pothole Hotline in Operation

The City of Allentown’s Pothole Hotline is operational for the 2021 season.

Motorists who run over a pothole on streets maintained by the city are urged to report it by one of three methods: the city’s Pothole Hotline at 610-437-8775, the city’s 311 Reporter App or by sending an email by accessing the city website.

“The traveling public can be a big help here,” said Mayor Ray O’Connell. “We want to repair potholes in a timely manner before they develop into larger problems.”

The Streets Department recording asks callers to give the exact location of the pothole. They should provide their name and telephone number in case the city needs to reach them to ascertain a more precise location.  Callers can reach the Pothole Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

An icon on the www.allentownpa.gov homepage links directly to the pothole page in the Public Works Department.  Visitors to the pothole page should click on “submitting an email complaint.”  From the Subject drop down box they should select “complaint.” From the Send To drop down box they should select “List of Common Issues.” From the Issue Category drop down box they should select “Streets and Walkways.” From the Streets and Walkways drop down box they should select “Potholes,” and then type the necessary information in the message box.

Citizens using the 311 Reporter App are able to quickly report problems or observations through the application.  The reports are delivered to city staff through the city’s GIS mapping system.  Staff members have access to an Operations Map & dashboard where reports can be reviewed and assigned to the appropriate part of the agency.

A streets department crew fills potholes using a PB Patcher unit that is fully self-contained and can be installed on any single axle dump truck.  The unit has the capability of keeping hot mix material workable all day.  The city has a goal of repairing potholes on high traffic volume roads within 24 hours and lower volume streets in 24-to-48 hours.  If a complaint is received of a very large pothole, a supervisor is sent to the scene in a reasonable period of time to determine if immediate action is warranted.

According to Public Works Department Deputy Director Mark Shahda pothole patching is a top priority.  “We have at least one crew assigned to pothole repairs daily.  We want to get to them as quickly as possible.” 

After a relatively mild winter, the streets department filled just more than 9,000 potholes in 2020.  That compares very favorably to the nearly 18,971 that were filled in the winter of 2018-2019.

Potholes result from the freeze-thaw cycle.  Water seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of vehicle travel.  As the temperatures fall below freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to batter this raised section – and the temperatures once again rise above freezing – a shallow divot occurs beneath the surface breaking the pavement and forming a pothole.

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