Streets Causing Expensive Damage

Thursday, February 7th 2008, 8:08 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Streets.  Those two words alone can be the start of a very long discussion.  So why aren't some of Tulsa's worst being fixed?  Six in the Morning is going to answer some of those questions during a month-long series.  

Six in the Morning reporter Carina Sonn reports the Mayor has a line set up for folks to call in and report potholes and other problem areas.

A couple of local repair shops were called and it didn't take long to find a damaged car.  The driver was on Highway 169 and 71st Street when she ran over a bad spot.  Mechanics say fixing the damage will cost about $150.  

High end rims and tires are much more, about $500 to repair.

Cliff Taylor says he sees this kind of damage at least twice a week, not just from state highways.  Drivers are just as frustrated with city streets.

"They feel unsafe driving on the roads, especially with low profile tires.  They spend a bunch of money on wheels and tires, hit a pothole and have to get it repaired," said Cliff Taylor, CARS.

So who decides which streets get fixed?

The Public Works Department looks at arterial and neighborhood streets every five years.  Workers rate each one and give it a grade.  That grade along with the funding available is entered into a computer system, and it figures the best way to stretch each dollar.

Paul Zachary says sometimes that means the worst streets aren't the first to be fixed.

"If we let a street get down to the 40s or 50s, we'll spend five to ten times what we'd spend if we'd done it when the street was in the 80s or 85.  The idea is to keep the pavement in a better condition for longer," said Paul Zachary, City of Tulsa Public Works.

The bottom line of course is money.  Zachary says the city needs more than $1 billion over 10 years just to get the streets to an average grade.

If you would like to report a pothole, call the Mayor's Action Center at 596-2100.  A city crew will come fill the hole eventually, but officials warn it's only a quick fix and once it rains or snows it will deteriorate.