Pothole-patching season begins in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Potholes pop up every year around this time, but perhaps they’re more scattered than usual right now due to this month’s record-breaking snowfall.

The city of Providence filled in a couple dozen craters on Thursday, marking the beginning of pothole season.

Department of Public Works Director William Bombard said residents will start seeing trucks on city streets making what they call “cold patches.” Crews have to use these temporary measures to keep people safe in the short term, since it’s simply too cold outside for hot asphalt to be used.

“It’s certainly worth the work so people don’t damage vehicles, become injured, or get in harm’s way,” Bombard said. “We don’t want people to swerve around potholes and get into a collision or hit a snow bank.”

Even though this winter has been brutal so far, Bombard said the pothole problem isn’t as bad citywide thanks to the $20 million Providence spent to pave roads in the past year. But inevitably, newly paved or not – Mother Nature finds a way to wind and more asphalt will be needed.

“We’ll be doing this for weeks, weeks to come,” added Bombard.

If potholes do cause damage to your cars or injuries to you, claims can be filed. The city has forms on their website where you can fill state what your problem is.

If your car is damaged, you have to attach two estimates. If you’re injured, you have to attach your medical bills.

It’s up to the city council whether or not the claim is accepted.

The mayor’s office said this year they have a new way to fix the potholes by using a hot patch system that will hopefully keep them filled.

“I’m very eager to try out that technology and start filling those potholes,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza Thursday morning. “Because what we found over the past is you fill in a pothole, but as soon you fill it the next snow storm comes and it gets uncovered and we got that same pothole. That’s what I want to eliminate. When we address pothole, that it gets fixed permanently and the hot patch will help us do that.”

If there’s a pothole in your area, give the mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services a call and they can help you out.

Claims and paperwork can be mailed to:

Rhode Island Department of Transportation
Division of Highway and Bridge Maintenance
Attn: Pothole Claims
360 Lincoln Ave.
Warwick, RI 02888

For more information about potholes in Rhode Island, visit the RI DOT damage claim page or call the claims hotline at (401) 734-4817.

In Massachusetts, the state has no liability for pothole damage unless a driver sustains serious bodily injury or death.

To report a pothole, drivers can call MassDOT’s Pothole Hotline at 857-DOT-INFO.

For information about potholes in Massachusetts, visit:

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