Providence pothole claims down 75% since 2014

Mayor Jorge Elorza helps fill a pothole in Providence. (photo by Dan McGowan/WPRI 12)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The number of claims Providence drivers filed with the city after hitting potholes dropped by 75% between 2014 and 2017, according to data released by the Elorza administration.

Records show drivers filed 147 pothole claims in the fiscal year that ended June 30, down from 596 during the 2013-14 fiscal year. The city has paid out $243,455 for vehicles damaged by potholes over the last four fiscal years.

“It’s encouraging to see these types of claims have significantly reduced over the past few years,” Emily Crowell, a spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza, said in a statement. “This deduction is due to proactive efforts by our team at DPW and the new introduction of the PVD311 system citywide. With increased users on the app and through the 3-1-1 phone system, we’re seeing residents reporting potholes and issues before they become a problem for city drivers.”

The drop also overlaps with the city’s 2012 decision under former Mayor Angel Taveras to borrow $40 million to pave more than 60 miles of roads in every neighborhood. The project, which addressed streets in the most need of repairs using a merit-based analysis created by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, was completed in 2014.

The city is set to embark on another road-paving project over the next year, part of a $45-million infrastructure bond approved by the City Council and the Providence Public Buildings Authority (PPBA) earlier this month. Nearly half of the funds will be spent on streets and sidewalks, with the rest being used for repairs to recreation centers, public parks, sewers and City Hall.

The city requires people to file a claim with the city clerk related to potholes within seven days of any incident. All claims – including personal injury and automobile or property damage – must be mailed to Providence City Hall. Claimants must provide copies of two estimates as well as any medical bills or other documents pertaining to the incident.

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Dan McGowan ( ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan