Tampa facing pothole problems again as Hermine's rain sinks in

Tampa, FL -- Watch where you're driving in Tampa these days. All that rain from Hurricane Hermine has potholes opening up all over the place. And now, with more rain on the way, it’s left some with a sinking feeling about whether the problem on their street will ever get fixed.

“I need them to fix it right away for us,” said Lily Sustache who has all but had it.

Sustache is peeved by the potholes that could cost her South Tampa restaurant customers. 

“Maybe they don't come to the business thinking something can happen to them,” she said.

Susatche is concerned about the traffic snarled caused by the same sinkhole that the city fixed a few months ago at MacDill Avenue and Azeele Street.

A day earlier, there was another lane closure at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near MacDill. 

City officials say they've been filling about 30 potholes a day ever since Hermine dropped several inches of rain on Tampa. Three dedicated crews working on it rather than the typical two.

The problem? It’s not just the traffic above, but cracks and leaks in the aging pipes below. 

“We have a lot of pipes that are older. They're clay. So that foundation is not supporting them. The weight of the pipe itself collapses - breaks the pipe,” said Tampa’s Director of Transportation and Stormawater Jean Duncan.

Duncan says the city has to prioritize which pipes it fixes first. But, often you can spot the problem on several side streets. Depression after depression forming a straight line. Running along where the pipe sits underneath the pavement.

Bigger potholes with more traffic get fixed first.

But Victor Perez says that’s why he worries the holes on Horatio Street, where he works, have gone unattended for almost a year. So long, that the potholes are sprouting a weed garden. 

“That lets me know that the problem has been resolved. And they're not planning on doing anything about it quickly. Enough,” said Perez.

Tampa officials say as bad auto problem has been the summer, it's still better than last year. Right now there tackling just over 30 potholes a day. Last year at this time it was around 48. 

Projects from the newly passed stormwater fee could eventually improve the pressure on those aging pipes.

But for the foreseeable future? The city asks for patience as it applies its blacktop Band-Aids.

“We really appreciate people's patience with these. If they see barricades, we ask that they go around the barricades. Please don't move them,” said Duncan.

Got an issue to report? Call (813) 274-3101.

More on the pothole problem:

Road Warrior's guide to pothole driving

Pothole problems on Bay to Bay Boulevard


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