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KC crews overwhelmed by potholes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Officials are responding to criticism from drivers, who are frustrated by damages to their cars caused by potholes.

Public works crews say they're overwhelmed with potholes this year.

Cars are crawling through the intersection of Gregory Boulevard and The Paseo, trying to dodge some deep craters that city crews have not gotten to yet.

In the first six weeks of the year, the city says its 311 center has received more than 1,400 reports of potholes. Last year during the same time period there were only 256.

Officials admit there are a lot more potholes than what's been reported, but it gives them some sense of the scale: Street conditions are five times worse than last year.

The city says it now has 10 two-person crews working throughout town patching potholes, but officials say they recognize that it's simply not enough.

"One staff study showed that if we had $45-million a year to go to road repairs that would be where we need to be as a city," Chris Hernandez, Kansas City's communications director said. "Right now the budget has about $10-million. The budget request that will be revealed tomorrow will take that up to $16-million."

A labor shortage also is impacting how quickly potholes are fixed. The city currently has thirty job openings for public works maintenance workers and equipment operators. If those jobs were filled, there would be more crews out on the streets filling potholes.

And the city is testing a new tool, called "thump pads," to temporarily fill a pothole until crews can patch it. Inspectors only have about 50 of them. But they can help prevent a tire blowout.

If your car has suffered damage from a pothole on city streets, you can learn how you can file a claim for reimbursement from the city HERE.

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