St. Paul city leaders discuss plan for improving city’s roads

Fixing St. Paul’s roads

Fixing St. Paul's roads

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, state Senator Sandy Pappas as well as other city leaders gathered Thursday morning to talk about the condition of the city’s roads and plans to improve them.

The mayor and senator were joined by City Councilor Mitra Jalali, Public Works Director Sean Kershaw and Parks and Recreation Director Andy Rodriguez, among others, at the St. Paul Asphalt Plant.

Kershaw said the city started buying and using hot mix asphalt to patch potholes two weeks ago while the city’s asphalt plant got up and running. Now that the plant is ready to go, he said it will greatly increase the city’s capacity to fill potholes.

He also noted the crews prioritize the worst, most dangerous potholes.

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“This is the worst season for potholes that we’ve ever had because of the weather we had this winter and because of the age of our streets, so it’ll take longer,” Kershaw added, noting the city is hoping to address all of the potholes created during the winter in the next month or two but saying work will continue into the summer.

According to the city of Minneapolis, there have been 216 claims so far in 2023 regarding pothole damage which is significantly higher than previous years. In 2020 there were 58 claims; in 2021, there were 33; and in 2022, there were 52.

The group shared plans for filling potholes and talked about how a proposed plan to have a local sales tax would help with that mission.

RELATED: As the seasons shift, so does the formula for fixing potholes

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the city is asking for a one-cent sales tax increase. Carter had previously said about three-quarters of the increase would be dedicated to fixing city streets, while the remaining quarter would be given to the Parks and Recreation Department. State law requires cities and counties to get approval from the state to hold local referendums to allow voters to decide whether the taxes will be raised.

Carter says claims against the city for pothole damage totaled 85 in 2022 and reached 250 in the first two months of 2023.

RELATED: How to report potholes, file a damage claim and get reimbursed

While potholes can cause damage to vehicles, drivers can sometimes file claims to cover the cost of damages caused by a pothole, although the pothole usually has to have been reported and crews have a reasonable amount of time to fix them.

CLICK HERE to add a pothole to KSTP’s pothole map.