Sioux Falls City Council considering additional $500,000 to plug potholes
The large amount of snow -- and now rain -- causing streets to pop and crumble in spots.
SIOUX FALLS – The Sioux Falls City Council may put an extra $500,000 in the pothole account.
It’s not that the city’s snow removal and pothole budget is running out of money. In fact, there’s about $5 million left in the snow removal coffers.
Consider this a back-up plan.
“With an extreme amount of snow comes an extreme amount of potholes,” said Councilor Curt Soehl, who forwarded the proposal with Councilor Sara Cole.
The council voted unanimously on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to approve the first reading of the proposal to move the money. Final approval would be at the next regular meeting on Feb. 21, though at least one councilor questioned whether there was a need to do so.
While agreeing to send the plan to a second reading, Councilor Greg Neitzert said he would likely not vote in favor of it next week. More money isn’t going to fill the potholes any quicker or better, he said.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about the weather,” he said.
Potholes are a perennial issue when moisture works its way into cracks in the pavement, freezes and expands.
Dustin Hansen, street department operations manager, told the council earlier on Tuesday that there are six or seven crews working on the crumbling cracks on the roadways. City employees from other departments, primarily Fire Rescue, have been dispatched to the pothole crew to help out.
“Obviously it’s been a tough winter. Some of the streets still have snow and ice on them, so we don’t truly know the issues. It can get worse toward the spring,” Hansen said in an interview with Sioux Falls Live.
Crews had been making good progress in recent weeks, as consistently below-freezing temperatures meant that not as much moisture was seeping into the seams, said Hansen.
But the recent warming trend, and a steady rain on Tuesday, means a new wave is likely coming when it gets cold, he said.
“We had in the past couple weeks some decent weather to get these filled, and we kind of caught up,” he said. “Now we get more rain and snow, that’s been the issue. Rain is the worst.”
The city budgeted about $441,000 for the pothole-filling materials and has used only $53,000 of that so far this year, he said.
The best thing people can do is report street damage through the Pothole Hotline at 605-367-8002 or on the city’s website at siouxfalls.org/pothole .
“The more reports we get on potholes in a certain area then we know that area is bad, then let’s send one team, two teams, whatever we need to get on top of it,” Hansen said. “That’s been big.”