Pothole numbers on the rise after heavy rains

The city is continuing its fight against potholes after recent heavy rains triggered more problems on Oahu’s roads.

Passing tropical cyclones, Jimena and Ignacio, triggered thunderstorms, heavy rain and flooding across the state.

All that water, officials explain, creates ideal conditions for potholes. Water gets underneath the asphalt, and pressure from cars lifts the asphalt from the road.


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“All it takes is three to four days of rain and then they just mushroom, the number of potholes, their size, their depth,” said University of Hawaii engineering professor Panos Prevedouros. “The problem then becomes critical for the crews to deal with them because there are too many and too many complaints and too many potholes.”

The city’s latest pothole report shows a decline in the number of potholes filled in recent weeks, along with a rise in reports.

 Aug 9-15  Aug 16-22  Aug 23-29  Aug 30-Sept 5  Year to Date
 Potholes filled  957  865  613  582  33,796
 Potholes reported  73  32  79  87  2,494

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell previously told KHON2 crews must wait for sunny weather to fill existing potholes.

“Otherwise, we’re back the next day and people are yelling, ‘Look, the county just filled it and they didn’t do a very good job,’” he said.

But, officials add, another factor contributes to the rise in potholes.

According to a city spokesman, when the city is preparing for a major storm, Department of Facility Maintenance crews who normally fill potholes are reassigned to emergency preparations, such as stream cleaning.

Overall, however, officials say progress has been made. So far this year, through Sept. 5, DFM has patched 33,796 potholes based on 2,494 reports from the public as compared to 28,328 potholes that were filled over the same period last year.

Most recently, crews filled 274 potholes in the Honolulu area, 167 in Waialua and 141 in Pearl City.

Officials say the city’s ongoing repaving projects are helping to reduce the number of potholes being reported.

The city and state have different hotlines to report potholes.

Report a pothole on a city road by calling 768-7777 or submitting an online form. For potholes on state roads, call 536-7852.

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