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Operation Pothole fills more than 15K holes

January 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The city's effort to repair street damage in Los Angeles in a project called "Operation Pothole" is being called a success, but officials say there's still more work to be done.To many drivers, filling potholes don't seem like that big of a deal.

"I grew up in Arkansas, and Arkansas has better roads than L.A.," said Los Angeles resident John Powell. "Come on, it's just a joke."

Over the weekend, 50 Operation Pothole crews from the city's Bureau of Street Services went out to fill thousands of potholes. Their goal was to fill 15,000 holes.

City Councilman Jose Huizar, who chairs the council's public works committee, says crews repaired 16,100 potholes, exceeding their goal.

However, they're still way behind on getting to the thousands more that are need to be filled because furlough days and budget cuts mean the city can't get to repair the potholes as quickly as they'd like.

"We used to fill potholes within 48 hours. Now, we do it probably within two to three weeks," said Huizar. "Why is that? Because we put some of our street workers on furloughs. They take less days off and less potholes are getting filled."

Many Los Angeles residents say they're frustrated that the city cannot keep up with the problem. One thing they'd like to see is prioritizing bigger potholes so they don't cause drivers auto repairs later.

Budget talks are now under way to figure out the problem. While the city council, controller and chief administrative officer figure out what needs to be cut, they also need to figure out what to do with federal stimulus money that hasn't been spent.

According to city hall officials, the city of Los Angeles has only used about 25 percent of the $630 million of federal stimulus money it's received to create jobs. Some of that money, Huizar says, could be used to fill potholes.

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