More pothole problems in Cleveland. For more than two years, we've documented many of the city's failed road repair plans in our investigation “Broken Roads, Broken System.”
And now we have new video of city crews making questionable pothole repairs.
We were originally out on Cleveland's west side doing a story about a terrible road, but then a pothole-filling crew went by, caught our attention, and what we found has people wondering what's going on?
While in our news car, we saw a Cleveland roads crew on West Avenue near West 133rd Street. A guy with a leaf blower on his back was supposed to blow out the potholes removing dirt and water before the patching is placed.
The problem was he was way ahead of the guys actually applying the cold patch and it continued to rain. Minutes later, the men with the shovels show up.
On video, we showed the blower guy was up the street. He had removed the blower from his back, but guys were filling holes, holes with the new rainwater in them.
We got out of the car and shot some more video and found more holes with patching materials thrown on top of the water.
With our camera now visible, the guy with the blower got back out of the truck, but we showed on our video he was standing 40 feet away while crews continued patching holes filled with water.
People in the neighborhood are upset with the road repair. "They're not doing a good job,” said neighbor James Manak. “Taxpayers are paying for all this and they're not even doing what they're supposed to be doing."
"All it's going to do is cause more gravel to be up here and they don't come out and clean this up," said neighbor Judy Lawson. “I have to come out here and clean this up and get it up with a shovel and throw it in the garbage.”
In a previous interview with 5 On Your Side Investigators, the city of Cleveland's Chief Operating Officer Darnell Brown told us about pothole filling. “We do training with our crews on the proper way to install asphalt or whatever we're using to fill a pothole,” said Brown. “We do use the ability to blow material out whether it's loose material or water and we use a binder and then we use a product.
“So, we're doing everything we should based on what best practices are to install,” Brown added.
Plus, during budget hearings, Public Works Director Michael Cox assured Council Members like Brian Kazy that the crews know what they’re doing.
“Are the people who are filling the potholes, are they trained on how to do the potholes?” Kazy asked.
“Yes,” said Cox.
We showed Kazy our video. The crew in question was working on a street in his ward. “Ohhhh!” he reacted after seeing the splashes of water.
“What goes through your mind when you see something like this?” we asked.
The hearing we mentioned, the one where Kazy asked those question about training, took place just days before we recorded the crews working.
"I'm going to keep an eye on these potholes that they're filling to see if it holds,” said Kazy. “It's definitely something that we're going to look into further."
It's not the first time our cameras have caught questionable pothole filling when water was not blown out those times either. Meanwhile, drivers just want some help.
"We're messing up our cars, our tires, our tie-rods, our struts,” said Manak. “I just can't afford to keep fixing my car."
Nearly all of the current patching is a temporary fix but just how temporary depends on traffic, the material, and *how that material is placed in the holes.
The office of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is aware of our video. Our request to show it to them in person has not been answered.