Drivers frustrated over lack of pothole repairs

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – They're back: potholes popping up by the thousands around St. Louis.

Drivers may complain repairs aren't coming quickly enough.   But they may be partly to blame.

Street and highway departments need drivers to remember: see a pothole -- call it in.

“Yeah, if it hit them I cringe,” said driver, Ann Witte.

The damage can be immediate – a flat tire – a bubble in the sidewall -- or worse: a bent wheel or even a blown wheel bearing – which can go unnoticed for weeks.

“The customer actually remembered a few weeks ago hitting a pothole covered with water, didn’t know how deep it was and the eventually ended up damaging the bearing,” said John Harrison of Telle Tire in Richmond Heights.

The customer also will have to replace the wheel, he said.

St. Louis City and St. Louis County workers fill potholes by the thousands: 25,000-30,000 every year in St. Louis County alone.

Both have repair crews out looking for them every day.

Both also rely on drivers to report potholes, which drivers may be forgetting this year.

St. Louis City repaired more than 3,500 driver-reported potholes last year.

“Obviously we can’t drive every street in the City every day,” said St. Louis City Street Commissioner, Kent Flake. “If we get a little bit of rain there’s a chance on your residential street, 5 potholes could open up. Needless to say we’re not going to be on that street for maybe a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks. If we don’t get a phone call, there’s a chance we might not be there. So it’s very important to call that number and let us know.”

The guys at Telle Tire say keeping your tires properly inflated is critical. It can truly be the difference a bump in the road and a bent wheel or blown bearing, especially with the low profile, performance tires common on most vehicles today.

To report a pothole in St. Louis City call: 314-622-4800; in St. Louis County call 314-615-8538.