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Pothole problems: What is the city of Memphis doing to fix potholes, and how much is it costing Memphians?

Since January 2023, city crews have filled 17,627 potholes but only about 2,692 were reported.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

Since January 2023, Memphis crews have filled 17,627 potholes on city roads, but only about 2,692 were reported. As the seasons begin to change, expect more potholes to spring up; warmer temperatures cause cold pavement to break up. 

Whether it's on a state road or a city road, many drivers know Memphis to be the pothole purgatory. 

In early January the city's office of Public Works said they were hiring a company to survey nearly seven thousand miles of Memphis roads after a nearly 50% surge of recorded potholes.

The assessment by Roadway Asset Services (RAS) is expected to be complete in the next couple of months. The city said the survey aims to help crews find potholes before cars do - and fill them.   

So far in 2023, nearly 3,000 potholes have been reported, according to data provided by the city.

About 2,000 of those potholes have been filled.   

“Memphis potholes will keep an automotive business going strong on a daily basis,” David Lane, the service manager at Raleigh Tire Auto Service Center, said.  

He said weekly, on average, at least 15 people come in that need repairs due to a run-in with a pothole. 

“[That] definitely takes some toll on your vehicles; obviously you hit a big lengthy Memphis pothole, it can knock your alignment out of specs, cause uneven wear, steering wheel becomes uneven, multiple different vibrations,” Lane said.  

Estimates indicate that type of damage can cost Memphis drivers anywhere between $150 dollars to more than $1,000. 

With most pothole damage happening in late winter going into spring as temperatures fluctuate, it rains, causing the pavement.

The city expects to have more information for a targeted plan of action for Memphis streets with the lowest rating in the survey will be repaired first. 

In the meantime, Lane suggests, it's important to take cars in for regular service, even if potholes don't flatten tires immediately.

“You should have your alignment checked or set every 15,000 miles or once a year," Lane said.

The city said to report potholes by calling 311 or taking a picture and posting it with the location using Memphis' 311 app.  


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