Essential Pittsburgh
6:10 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

When it Comes to Patching Potholes, Funding is the Biggest Pitfall

Mike Gable was appointed as the new Department of Public Works Director by Mayor Peduto last week.
Mike Gable was appointed as the new Department of Public Works Director by Mayor Peduto last week.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh is an old city with old roads. From cobblestones, to brick, to brittle asphalt, the addition of winter weather can make our daily commutes pretty treacherous.

Last week, Mayor Peduto appointed public works veteran, Mike Gable as the new Department of Public Works Director.

Gable hopes the city can find more funding in order to get on track with  winter street maintenance plans.

“Well this is a very tough time of the year, obviously. The roads are in bad shape as a result of the freezing and thawing that has been occurring over the past couple of weeks. But, its also a product of not making the investment that we’ve had to make to repair the roads with our resurfacing program.”

In the resurfacing program calls for a target of 80 miles per year, but the department has only been paving 30 to 40 miles per year, Gable says this is not a recipe for success.

“The plan would be 80 miles a year, based on the mileage we have for asphalt streets, figuring the 10-12 life cycle. But by not paving 80 miles that number continues to increase each year. It is looking more like 100, 110 miles per year. Eventually its going to catch up with you.”

How to increase this workload is where some problems may come into play for Gable.

“We just have to look at the capital budget to see where we can get more capital dollars to get more paving done with both in-house crews and contractors. I don’t know the amount right now of our budget but its probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million to $10 million for our street resurfacing, so we’ll probably be in the same 40 to 50 miles, unless we can get more out of it.”