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Rough Winter Leads To Spike In Pothole Damage Claims, Up 15.8% Over Last Year

City Clerk Anna Valencia’s office processes damage claims of as much as $2,000 to repair flat tires, bent wheels and out-of-whack alignments.

Pothole claims are up by more than 15% this year.
Quinn Ford / DNAinfo
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CHICAGO — A 15.8 percent increase in the number of pothole damage claims filed with the City Council from March through May as compared with the same period last year will force city leaders to dig deep to pay winter’s toll.

Since March, the traditional start of Chicago’s unofficial pothole season, city officials processed 658 claims of vehicle damage.

Caused by Chicago’s frequent freeze-and-thaw-cycles, potholes are the bane of many Chicago drivers — as well as officials hoping to stay in the good graces of voters.

City crews filled more than 205,600 potholes between March 2018 and April 2018 — and more than 276,200 potholes between March 2019 and April 2019, a 34 percent jump, according to data provided by the Chicago Department of Transportation.

In 2018, the city repaved approximately half of the city’s streets — 310 miles. In 2019, the Emanuel administration vowed to repave 315 miles of streets, CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said.

City Clerk Anna Valencia’s office processes damage claims of as much as $2,000 to repair flat tires, bent wheels and out-of-whack alignments. The claims head to the City Council’s Finance Committee, which approves payment as part of its routine agenda.

Drivers can file claim forms online at chicityclerk.com along with a copy of the police report as well as a paid repair bill or two estimates.

About six months later, drivers will get a check in the mail for about half — under the theory that any damage is at least partly the fault of the person behind the wheel.