TOLEDO (WTOL) - Since the beginning of the year, we’ve gone from sub-zero temperatures to highs near 60 degrees within just a few days.
Mix in some rain and snow and conditions are perfect for the formation of potholes.
Long term fixes can be costly and time consuming.
With another warm-up headed our way this weekend, we checked into what the city is doing now to keep the pothole problems at a minimum.
Potholes are a common nuisance this time of year. They happen when water seeps into cracks in the pavement, then expands as it freezes, putting pressure on the pavement. Add traffic on top and the pavement will eventually fail, creating a pothole.
Roads with a high volume of traffic are more prone to pothole formation.
You’ve heard us say if you see a pothole to call Engage Toledo, but what do they actually do?
They dispatch crews right away, and it's not just potholes they serve.
The busiest day they’ve had so far this season is taking in calls of downed trees following the ice storm earlier this month. That day, call volumes were around five to 10 times as high as normal.
Jenny Gogol, Manager of Customer Service for the City of Toledo Department of Public Utilities explained how the process has become streamlined over the past few years. Calls used to be routed all over town, but now, short of what you need to call 911 for, all other concerns can pretty much either go through Engage Toledo, or they’ll help you figure out who can help you.
“Not only do we take inbound citizen calls, we do dispatch, so we support our field operations, division of transportation, streets bridges and harbor, sewers and drainage services and police and fire communications by way of dispatch, so multitasking is huge for us." Gogol said. “We have to be able to take that inbound call, we have to handle that dispatch request, dispatch out something maybe in an emergency situation, in the field, and we also monitor the mobile application to make sure citizens who are reporting online through the app have those issues responded to in a timely manner.”
They encourage all inquiries at Engage Toledo. If you think the issue has already been reported, go ahead and call anyway just to be sure.
If it’s new, they’ll start a ticket to go to the right department, or if it is a recurring issue they can build on it with any new information you provide.
Tricia St. Meyers is one of the experienced customer service representatives and dispatchers who has worked for the city for years. In fact, she started with the city, worked at 911 for a while, before coming back once the call center was formed. She said she’s happy to add notes to any case because it can really help with recurring issues.
“Especially with nuisance complaints on housing property. If they have to go into housing court they have that background to take to the judge and say, look, this property is a nuisance, we have all these same complaints, from multiple people, we need to do something about this,” she said.
Representatives are available at all times; that’s 24/7, 365 days per year.
Calls only take an average of a minute, and at the end you’ll be provided a five-digit tracking number if you want to follow up on the status of your call by phone or online.
Citizens are calling in and participating in record numbers. Around 50 new users have downloaded the app in the last two weeks alone, and call numbers are already up 50 present from last year.