Hey City Pothole Fixers, You Missed a Spot—or 40

Though deemed fixed on the City of Boston's award-winning app, some potholes are still not repaired, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Photos courtesy NECIR

Photos courtesy NECIR

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting, fresh off an investigation finding dangerously high mercury levels in fish caught in Massachusetts, has turned its attention to the way the City of Boston fixes its innumerable potholes—or in some cases, doesn’t.

The NECIR sampled 78 potholes deemed fixed on the city’s award-winning mobile app Citizen’s Connect in May, June, and July, and found that some did not meet the city’s guidelines to be considered fully repaired. One questionably fixed pothole in the North End caved in just minutes after city officials showed it off to reporters.

The problem isn’t unique to the historic streets of the North End: The NECIR’s investigation, published Wednesday, took their team all across the Beacon Hill, Boston University, Franklin Park, Newbury Street, Hyde Park, Brighton, the South End, and Roxbury.

Eighteen of the 78 potholes simply weren’t fixed, while in 22 other cases, crews fixed one pothole near several others and closed the case for the whole cluster:

On Revere, a one-way street in Beacon Hill, crews fixed a pothole. Then, in order to leave the street, they had to drive over dozens of dangerous holes in the road. They left them untouched. On Commercial Street in the North End, crews responded to a complaint [Public Works Interim Commissioner Michael] Dennehy said he submitted himself, reporting a pothole around a manhole cover. Crews repaired that crevice beautifully but left a sea of severe potholes surrounding it.

In addition, though crews may decide some potholes are another agency’s responsibility to fix, these cases were still being reported repaired in several instances.

“There can be a number of reasons that contribute to this not being possible, ranging from running out of materials or time, or something physically being in the way—such as a car or delivery truck being parked over any potholes,” Mayor Marty Walsh’s spokesperson Laura Oggeri told the NECIR.

Now the NECIR is calling on the public to help write the next chapter of their investigation through a citizen campaign called #HolesInTheSystem. Residents can select a pothole on the NECIR’s interactive map, color-coded by city councilor, and weigh in on whether they’re satisfied with the repairs.

You can read the full story here.