Kent in a Pot Hole

A Solution to Kent’s Potholes May be Coming

Video & Graph by Pamela Marotta, Story by Kristie Graybill, Photos & Video by Xiafan Li

WHAT IS HAPPENING

Many Kent residents are concerned about the growing number of potholes. Kent’s facility manager, Gerald Shandley, said, “There are too many

A tire rimmed damaged by the potholes in Kent.
A tire rimmed damaged by the potholes in Kent.

[potholes] to count.”

William Wilson, 28 year old resident of Kent, drives down Summit Street every week to pick up prescriptions and groceries from Walgreen’s. Summit

Street has had the most pothole complaints filed. Wilson drives a maroon 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and fears that the road will cause harm to his car.

“I haven’t popped a tire yet but I hit so many potholes I probably will! A friend of mine had his tire popped right here a few weeks ago, on this road but I got to get my medication,” said Wilson.

Wilson is one of many concerned citizens. The number of potholes increase in the winter time due to water under the pavement freezing and then thawing; this process causes cracks to appear in the pavement which creates potholes because of the weight of traffic.

THE PROBLEM

Main Street Auto Center Service Manager, Jeff Wenzlawsh repairs up to six cars a week due to potholes.
Main Street Auto Center Service Manager, Jeff Wenzlawsh repairs up to six cars a week due to potholes.

Main Street Auto Center Service Manager, Jeff Wenzlawsh, says they usually have one or two pothole-related car repairs each week.

“It does get expensive quick,” said Wenzlawsh regarding pothole-related car damages.

The city of Kent repairs an average of ten to thirty potholes a day, sometimes even sixty depending on the size.  The problem with repairing potholes in the winter is simple: winter can only hold temporary fixes!

Cities will fill the potholes with hot and cold patches and wait until the spring season to make a more permanent fix. Another problem is that repairing potholes is a time-consuming process, which is why the city can only fix so many in each day.

A SOLUTION

The United States spends $91 billion a year on road maintenance and that cost can dramatically be cut with the use of a new invention: pothole bags. Pothole Bags were invented just three years ago by Case Western Reserve University student, Mayank Saksena. Saksena and four friends invented a “pothole bag” that is filled with non-Newtonian fluid that could replace the old stone-and-tar repair.

“It’s a more permanent solution in that it’s guaranteed to last the whole winter and won’t need replaced,” said Saksena.

Photo of  Saksena placing his pothole bag inside of a pothole in Cleveland. Courtesy of http://www.cleveland.com/
Photo of Saksena placing his pothole bag inside of a pothole in Cleveland.
Courtesy of http://www.cleveland.com/

The pothole bag simply needs to be placed inside of the pothole as a quick and easy fix. Not only will this new invention save the city repair time but it will save the city money.

“These could save millions in expensive repairs,” said Saksena.

Saksena says there are still kinks that need to be worked out with the pothole bag but this is an invention he believes will help the city and its residents.

In the meantime cities can pay for the damages caused by potholes, a resident can file a claim with the Ohio Court of Claims. To file the claim takes roughly 10-15 minutes and can help pay for the repairs. States pay out thousands for pothole-related car damages and an average of 265 Ohioans file pothole claims each year.

If you have recently had damage to your car due to a pothole you can still get your money back; these claims can be filed up to two years later. File your claim here– dot.state.oh.us/damagereport/