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L.A.'s Pothole Repair Numbers Don't Add Up

Pothole (not a crack) on a Los Angeles street (Photo by Al Pavangkanan via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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While Mayor Eric Garcetti launched an aggressive campaign last year to fill the potholes in the worst roads in the country, the number of fixed potholes touted by the city may have been inflated.

The city has claimed to fix 22,375 potholes from the 2011 to 2013 fiscal years, though that number has now been called into question. Pothole repair crews across the city have been found denoting the repair of a pothole on worksheets when in fact they fixed what should technically be considered a "crack," CBS 2 found out.

Observing repair crews with a hidden camera and later obtaining their worksheets, CBS2 found them to be checking off the "PH" (pothole) column when they were fixing holes as small as 1 foot by 1 foot. According to Kevin James, President of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, they define a pothole as "an indentation of roughly two feet in diameter in the shape of a pot" and that the worksheets filled out by the crews were inaccurate.

When confronted with these revelations, James admitted "The accuracy of the number provided by the Bureau [of Street Services] is off. No doubt about it."

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Despite this, Garcetti is confident the city has been proactively repairing the roads but also called for more accuracy. "Whether they're using a bad methodology this year and past years, we know we've done more potholes," he said. "I want to make sure the number is an honest number, though, too. If it's a crack repair, call it a crack repair"