Southern Arizona | Investigating 4 You

N4T Investigators: Pothole Plan

TUCSON – Pima County has started a new system for reporting potholes.

Doug McCambridge and Doug Vernon both blew tires on Shannon Road. They joined at least 6 other drivers who filed notices of claim against the county for potholes on Shannon Road this year.

“I’d rather see the money go to bigger stuff than paying claims,” Vernon said.

Both men said the county is reimbursing them for new tires.

“Police, fire, schools, roads, sewer, water, those are the prime responsibilities of the government,” McCambridge said. “And they don’t seem to want to take that responsibility on.”

Rich Franz-Ünder helped Pima County start using the “See Click Fix” app. He said the county is often quick about fixing potholes, but only if they are reported.

“People will drive by a pothole and say, ‘Somebody else will do it, somebody else will do it, somebody else will do it,’” Franz-Ünder said. “Well, they might not.”

Franz-Ünder said the goal for pothole repairs is five days. He said that does not always happen, especially after big storms, but they are often fixed sooner.

“Can we do them all in 48 hours? No,” Franz-Ünder said. “But a high volume, important road, we’re going to get out there as soon as possible.”

Robert Lane is the Division Manager for Maintenance and Right-of-Way Management. He said potholes only cost $10 to $50 to repair, but chasing potholes is not a long-term solution.

“By repair, I mean reconstruct, mill and replace the asphalt,” Lane said. “The problem is that costs a lot of money and we just need money to do it.”

Much of Pima County’s population is in unincorporated neighborhoods, which do not get as much state money as cities and towns.

“The way that formula works, more money goes to incorporated areas per capita than to unincorporated areas per capita,” Franz-Ünder said, “so that gives us a little bit of a shortfall.”

Recent bond elections have failed. Changing the state’s distribution system or raising gas taxes requires approval from the Arizona legislature. But the county is seeing more funding available as old debts are paid off.

More projects will likely focus on roads that are used heavily by residents of the county’s cities and towns, since they are county taxpayers also.

Sam Salzwedel

Sam Salzwedel

Sam Salzwedel is an investigative reporter at News 4 Tucson.
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