Potholes remain a problem in Seattle despite best efforts from SDOT

Feb 16, 2023, 4:04 PM | Updated: 4:46 pm
Seattle potholes...
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) reported its pothole rangers had a successful year in 2022. (Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

Seattle is patching more potholes than ever, but drivers still feel bumps in the road, especially in neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Eastlake, and Madison Park because of the December freeze and harsh winter.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) spokesperson Ethan Bergerson said crews have already filled 5,500 potholes so far this year.

“In 2022, the city of Seattle filled 23,000 potholes. That’s a five-year record for us,” Bergerson told KIRO Newsradio. “That’s about 50% more potholes than we filled in 2021 (15,000).”

One thing SDOT does is respond to pothole issues when they get reported.

“To be honest, filling a pothole is often kind of like a Band-Aid. We also have longer-term solutions. Examples of that are the larger paving projects,” Bergerson said. “And something that we call slurry seals, which is basically a sealant we put on the road, which helps keep water and moisture out of the pavement and helps prevent potholes and keeps that pavement lasting longer.”

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SDOT is able to fill most of the potholes reported within three business days. However, this time of year, it found a lot more potholes than usual.

“It’s not possible to do it that quickly when crews are responding to so many all at one time. Potholes tend to come back,” Bergerson said.



The solution to potholes could be bigger paving projects, but that can get costly. Bergerson said SDOT did a lot of re-paving last year and thanked the “Levy to Move Seattle,” which funded such projects.

“We feel we paved about 30 miles of streets. And we also paved about 200 miles of streets since 2016,” he said. “There’s a lot of that work happening. But those are big projects. And anyone who is traveling on Madison Street, for example, knows that that’s not the kind of thing that we could do everywhere in the city all at one time.”

If you have potholes in your neighborhood, please report them.

How to report a pothole:

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Potholes remain a problem in Seattle despite best efforts from SDOT