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DDOT Goes On Defensive On Potholes And Street Conditions

The District Department of Transportation said it filled more than 50,000 potholes after a harsh winter, but many local roads are still in poor shape.
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The District Department of Transportation said it filled more than 50,000 potholes after a harsh winter, but many local roads are still in poor shape.

Many D.C. roads are in bad shape, and one legislator says the District isn't fixing them fast enough.

After a brutal winter, the District Department of Transportation said it filled more than 50,000 potholes. Still, many local roads are crumbling. A quarter of them have a pavement condition rated "poor," 12 percent are "very poor," and two percent are rated "failed" by DDOT.

In a hearing today, Council Member Mary Cheh asked DDOT's acting director Matthew Brown, "What kind of a report card would that be for DDOT?"

"We are always trying to improve roadway condition, and the challenge we have is applying the funding that is available," Brown began to say, before Cheh interrupted: "I am asking you whether you think that is an acceptable percentage for the local roads."

Muhammed Khalid, DDOT's Deputy Chief Engineer, explained the dilemma faced by the agency. "The local road has not been funded adequately over many, many, many years, so the deterioration level has gone down significantly over so many years that we are recovering but it is taking quite a bit of time considering the funding level," he said.

Cheh was not satisfied with DDOT's answers. "I think there must be some kind of school these bureaucrats go to where they learn how to say a lot of words but mean practically nothing, that 'they are working on it,' 'we'll get back to you,'" she said.

Later in the hearing Brown said more than 80 percent of pothole requests were handled within 48 hours during the annual Potholepalooza.

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