Gaping potholes

A huge number of potholes will be "repaired in a few days," the municipality claims.

pothole jerusalem 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
pothole jerusalem 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Jerusalem Municipality says it will repair the numerous potholes on the city's streets and highways that resulted from the recent two days of snow "within a few days." But from the impression this reporter got during just one hour-long drive in the capital, there are thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of potholes on the roads, and it would be impossible to repair them all during a short period. Potholes occur when snow and ice melt and the resulting water seeps into the underlying dirt and gravel through cracks caused by the wear and tear of traffic. During cold winter nights, this water freezes and expands. Some of the dirt and gravel is pushed out as a result, leaving a hole when the water eventually melts. Drivers continue to drive over these unseen holes, putting even more stress on the thin asphalt layer covering them. Eventually, the asphalt layer over these divots collapses, creating potholes. The Jerusalem spokesman's office said that some of the potholes were caused by the mechanical equipment that cleared the main streets of snow. Furthermore, he added, some of the potholes existed previously, from causes unconnected to the snowfall. "We don't have an estimate of the number of potholes resulting from the snow, as there were potholes before, and we can't differentiate between them," he said. Asked if the municipality could purchase higher quality asphalt to minimize the number of cracks, he said that "the Jerusalem Municipality uses standard asphalt that bears the seal of approval of the Israel Standards Institute." As for whether residents can sue the municipality for damage to their vehicles that fell into or drove over a pothole, the spokesman's office said that "they can turn to the municipality over damage caused them by the potholes in the roads, but they cannot sue the city if potholes were created as the result of work by private contractors." A meter in diameter, six-centimeter deep pothole on the Begin Highway leading from the entrance of Jerusalem to Har Hotzvim from the second day of the snow was not fixed until the following Sunday, after complaints were phoned in to the 106 municipal hotline. Will all the potholes disappear "within a few days"? Time will tell. If they don't, put in a call to 106.