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Milwaukee DPW seeing 60% decrease in pothole complaints

Posted at 4:28 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 19:18:16-05

MILWAUKEE — It’s that time of year when potholes are typically a major problem in Milwaukee, but the city says it’s receiving just a fraction of the complaints compared to recent years.

Milwaukee's city engineer says the roads are in good shape coming out of winter because we haven’t seen extreme temperature fluctuations until the warm-up this week. Some drivers argue otherwise.

As Milwaukee continues to thaw out with spring-like weather, the streets are starting to show their scars from winter.

“The streets are horrible, they’re horrible,” said Tavareus Shorter of Milwaukee. "I keep asking myself, 'why is there this many potholes?'”


Shorter thinks potholes are a year-round problem in Milwaukee and an obstacle to keeping his car in good shape.

“I hit a pothole last night and I thought I messed up my little front end on my car,” he said.

But city engineer Jerrel Kruschke said the Department of Public Works has only received 285 pothole complaints this year. That figure is way down compared to nearly 700 this time last year and closer to 1,000 complaints by the end of February in previous years.

Kruschke said that’s because we haven’t seen extreme weather shifts this winter.

“It depends on the year. It’s more of a freeze-thaw, so if we’re continually getting cold and warm repeatedly, that’s when it starts to affect the pavement,” he said.


Potholes are caused when water gets into the ground under the pavement. When water freezes, it expands, causing the roadway to buckle and crack.

Kruschke said one problem DPW crews can’t control is having to use a cold mix to fill potholes until about April. Hot-mix offers a more permanent solution.

"During the winter times, just the environment we’re in, it tends that we hit areas three or four times during the winter season,” he said.

If your car is damaged by potholes, Kruschke said you can fill out a complaint to the city attorney’s office. The city received 22 vehicle damage reports last year, but as the I-Team learned, the city has never paid for car repairs due to pothole problems.


“Usually the city has immunity but the city’s attorney’s office does review those on a case by case basis,” Kruschke said.

If you find a pothole in your neighborhood in Milwaukee, you can call 414-286-CITY, or fill out a complaint here.

The Department of Public Works says their goal is to get potholes fixed within three days of receiving a complaint.

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