San Diego

City Audit Recommends Procedural Changes to Help Fix Potholes

Many drivers have voiced complaints about the crumbling roads in San Diego

San Diegans speaking at a city audit meeting about broken roads said the changes the city is making do not always last.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the city will aim to fix 1,000 miles of road by 2020. However, some residents claim the fixes implemented so far are not permanent solutions.

"All it takes is a couple days to do the patchwork, and the pothole is right back in," said Richard Williams, a man who is familiar with the streets of San Diego. "So I'm not one to be a complainer, but I don't see any improvement."

Quality control was at the top of the agenda at the meeting. The roads downtown have clear signs of deterioration, including cracks and potholes.

"I see it getting worse," said Williams. "If we do have rain, the rain makes it even worse."

Auditors said several factors are contributing to the poor quality of the roads. First, utility crews often need underground access to important infrastructure, which forces them to break through asphalt. Even a freshly repaved street will be damaged once that happens, and drivers may see recurring deterioration from then on.

Secondly, the city often hires outside contractors to repair the roads.

Currently, auditors said there aren't any quality checks required to make sure the contractor did a good job. The city doesn't need to record any information about the quality of the repair.

At the meeting, auditors proposed withholding pay until the contractor can provide a quality report to the city. It's part of an effort to make sure taxpayer dollars aren't being wasted.

"It's always good to take a deeper dive," said Kris McFadden, the director of the Transportation and Storm Water Department. "This, of course, is one of the mayor's number one priorities."

Next, the audit will be presented to the San Diego City Council for review.

"We're spending a lot of money here, so we want to make sure it's done right," added McFadden.

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