Road Runner: Pothole project takes off

2014-03-03T00:00:00Z Road Runner: Pothole project takes offJoe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

It was supposed to be a class project focusing on how to make local government more accountable to residents.

Frustrated by veritable minefields on their commute to the University of Arizona, political science majors Laura Unklesbay and Korey Cowan decided to focus on potholes.

They have their own stories to share: Unklesbay has a friend who has blown out a bike tire three different times, while Cowan said a friend had to recently replace the tires on her Volvo.

The mechanic suggested the Volvo owner file a claim against the city but said it would be a long shot to get her money back.

“We’ve heard so many complaints from our friends and how terrible it is,” Unklesbay said.

So a little more than a week ago, the pair put up a simple blog and set up an email account to solicit stories and pictures of potholes to share with Pima County.

Quickly, the mailbox started to fill up with emails.

Some were exactly what you’d expect, a cellphone picture of a hole in the ground. A few threw things into the potholes to show how big they are. A brick. An entire sand bag. A traffic cone.

One man showed them the scar he reportedly got after he crashed into a pothole.

The next step for the UA undergrads is to go before the Tucson City Council next month to relay their findings and share their stories.

The pair hope to bring more attention to the issue, at least helping to educate Tucsonans on how to report potholes to the city of Tucson.

Officially, the city says it is fixing potholes within two weeks of being reported to staff.

The pair can be reached at tucsonpotholes@gmail.com. Their blog is tucsonpotholes.wordpress.com.

To report a pothole to the city of Tucson, go to: www.tucsonaz.gov/transportation/streets-maintenance

Road Q

Q: Barry Austin writes: “When will the county have the fixed traffic cameras turned off and removed?”

A: Kate Coulson, with American Traffic Solutions, said the Tempe-based company that owns the 11 decommissioned camera installations throughout Pima County is taking them down as we speak.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors ended its multiyear contract with ATS in early January.

DOWN THE ROAD
  • The Arizona Department of Transportation will close portions of Interstate 10 this week as part of the $17.2 million Marsh Station Road project.

Starting today, the left lanes of both eastbound and westbound I-10 will be closed daily from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. to allow crews to work in the highway median and haul materials away from the project site. The lane restrictions will be between mileposts 288 and 290.

On Wednesday evening, the left lane of westbound I-10 will be closed to allow crews to remove temporary concrete construction barriers. During the same time period, the left lane of eastbound I-10 will be closed at the west end of the project (approximately milepost 288) to allow trucks to re-enter the Interstate.

On Friday morning, the left lanes of both eastbound and westbound I-10 will be closed until 5 p.m. to continue work in the median.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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