Find Posts By Topic

Once Around the Web: Pothole Rangers on the Hunt!

SDOT’s Pothole Rangers  are a dedicated team of Street Maintenance workers who work hard filling potholes all over Seattle. The work can be hot and dirty but they take a lot of pride in what they do.  Take a few minutes (3:29 to be exact) and watch this video put together by Seattle Channel that details a day in the life of the pothole rangers.

Want to see what they’ve been up to lately? Take a look at our Pothole Status Map. On this map, you can see all the potholes that have been reported and the ones that have been filled.

One of the most common questions we get about potholes is:

SDOT says it fills potholes within three business days, but the pothole is still there. What’s going on?

There are several reasons why we may not have made the repair you requested:

  • Weather conditions have created a backlog: There are seasonal variations in the amount of new potholes that are created.
  • Can’t find the pothole: Sometimes we are given insufficient information or there may be a car parked over the pothole when we arrive, hiding it from view.
  • Utility cuts: Some of the potholes reported are the responsibilities of other parties to fill. The agencies or private contractors who dig into the street to work on underground utilities must either repair the street pavement or pay SDOT to make the final, permanent repair. If the “utility cut” is not properly repaired, the area of the excavation can sink, leaving what can appear to be a pothole. When these are reported, we may require the utility to return and correct the paving. This may take longer than three business days.
  • Utility covers: When entrances to underground utilities become worn, the owners of the utility must repair cracked or damaged pavement around the rim.
  • Railroad Tracks: SDOT is not allowed to work within four feet of railroad tracks. This area must be repaired by the railroad. Repairs in the area we are responsible for within 25 feet of railroad tracks may take longer than 72 hours because we have to coordinate with the railroad.
  • Off to the side of the road: Sometimes a pothole forms off to the side of the roadway, especially when drainage is inadequate and the area is used for parking. These areas are usually the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to maintain.
  • Can’t be repaired as a pothole: Some defects that are reported as potholes are really some other kind of problem that can’t be repaired as a pothole. Sometimes it is a rough or rutted surface of a road that needs to be repaved or totally rebuilt from the base to the surface. Other times it is a void or sink-hole, a crumbled street edge, or pavement with layers of asphalt that have become separated (delaminated), or a long fissure or crack. A few streets in Seattle are surfaced with a very thin layer of liquid asphalt (containing no aggregate) covering bricks or paving stones. Defects in these streets cannot be fixed as a pothole. While most defects can be repaired, it may take longer. If there is a safety hazard, SDOT crews will set barricades around the problem area or they may close a lane.


We need you to report those potholes!

Please use this form to report non-emergency problems such as potholes and other minor street repairs, malfunctioning traffic signals, and damaged street signs. Or, you can always call us at: 684-ROAD (7623)