Suttle Says Potholes #1 Priority

There are more than 200,000 of them across the city and they are literally everywhere. Mayor Jim Suttle has declared war on potholes in the Omaha area and he's calling out all hands, even his own.

Driving around Omaha is like driving on a slalom course. "People are swerving everywhere and it's really dangerous for some people because they don't want to ruin their car, but then they put the safety of other people on the line," Kayla said.

And they're on every street across the city. "It's getting out of control it really is even my neighborhood is a mess and you have to swerve in and out," Deandre Richardson said.

Potholes are causing headaches for thousands of drivers causing an average of $300-$400 in damage.

Jaime Larsen got off easy with just a blown tire. "They're all over and they're just ruining my car. and I'm always swerving. I almost hit somebody the other day actually."

City crews are already out filling these road craters. "And it takes time and it takes money and we've got so many areas like this across the city, we're really struggling to stay on top of these areas and others," Scott McIntyre of Omaha Public Works said.

The city is using nine crews from local construction companies to help attack the problem. Mayor Jim Suttle said the city is taking the problem seriously, calling potholes "the number one priority, period." The mayor even geared up to lend a hand filling a pothole near 33rd and Lake Street Wednesday afternoon.

Suttle said a harsh winter and preventative neglect in previous years resulted in today's pothole infestation. He's also aware that people are tired of driving on the city's pock-marked streets.

"The public is expecting to see this done so we need to follow a systematic approach so that we can begin to get street after street after street into the done category."

Suttle said crews have already addressed 20 percent of the city's pothole problem. And although his efforts were mainly symbolic, Suttle said he's serious about addressing the city's most pressing problem. "One down, 199,999 to go."

The mayor also warned Omaha drivers to be aware of road crews making their way across the city. Suttle said he's also trying to get federal dollars to help with the pothole problem. He wants city workers to get ahead of the problem in the next 30 to 45 days.


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