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Recent winter storms have wreaked havoc on our roads. We’ve already filled 7,500+ potholes this year, compared to 15,000 last year. Thank you for your patience as we continue this pothole repair work!

SDOT crews filling several potholes on Greenwood Ave N near N 100th St on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

Editor’s Note (February 18, 2022): We have now filled over 7,500 potholes in 2022. We tripled the usual pothole response effort and filled about six months worth of potholes in just six weeks. But new potholes are continuing to appear every day, so if you see a pothole, please let us know by reporting it to us using one of these tools. Thank you!

SDOT crews work year-round to fill potholes. In 2021, we filled over 15,000 potholes, and we have already filled over 7,500 potholes in just six weeks of 2022. Our crews continue to respond to and repair potholes as quickly as possible.

Winter storms cause substantial damage to our roads and cause previously filled potholes to reappear throughout Seattle. After it rains or snows, we typically receive a surge of requests to fill them, which we track and respond to.

We received a flurry of pothole reports from the community since the snow and ice melted earlier this year. In early-January, the public reported new potholes in nearly 600 locations in a one-week period, compared to an average of about 150 reports per week last winter. We’ve continued working hard to fill these potholes, but it takes time to repair the damage, especially when ongoing winter weather, cold temperatures, and rain can lead to more potholes appearing every day.

This graph shows the number of new pothole locations reported by the public per week. Throughout 2021 there were 50-150 locations with potholes reported each week. In the first week of January 2022 this increased to 585 reports.
This graph shows the number of new pothole locations reported by the public per week. Potholes reported by multiple people or clusters of several nearby potholes listed in the same customer service request are only counted once. Graphic: SDOT

Thank you for your patience!

Last year, we filled 85% of reported potholes within 72 hours. We’re currently responding to many more potholes than typical due to the recent storms, which means it may take us longer than usual to respond to each individual pothole request even though we’re working very hard to fill potholes all over Seattle.

It takes us longer than usual to respond to all the potholes after heavy rain and snow because our crews have been dealing with storm-related clean-up activities. The crew members who fill potholes are the same people who work day and night during storm response activities, including driving snow plows, shoveling snow, and responding to landslides and flooding. When we’re faced with multiple challenges, we prioritize our work to promote public safety. This means filling the most hazardous potholes first, while also responding to a variety of other ongoing winter road hazards.

We respond quickly when you tell us about new potholes, but our work does not stop there. Our crews also repair other nearby potholes they discover and work to proactively identify repair needs beyond what we hear from the public.

Chart showing how many potholes were reported and filled in 2021. The public reported nearly 5000 locations with potholes, and SDOT filled over 15,000 potholes.
Graph showing that in 2021 SDOT received nearly 5,000 public reports of locations with potholes and filled 15,000 potholes. Crews dispatched to a location may sometimes discover and fill multiple nearby potholes. Graphic: SDOT

How to report a pothole:

We also need your help. New potholes appear frequently, and we can’t fix a pothole that we don’t know about. So please report potholes when you see them, using any of the following tools:

Winter weather is tough on our roads, often causing previously filled potholes to return and new potholes to form.

Rain, snow, and ice all cause damage to our streets as water finds its way into cracks in the pavement. Freezing temperatures are especially harsh as underground water expands into sharp ice, which cuts through the pavement and forces cracks apart. This erodes the streets and sidewalks from the inside out.

New road damage can continue to appear for days or even weeks after a storm passes. When heavy vehicles like trucks and buses drive over the damaged road, pieces of pavement break loose and form larger potholes.

Repairs that we make during the winter don’t always last because the rain keeps coming, and asphalt can’t bind to the surrounding pavement. So, many of the potholes we fill today may need to be repaired again over the next few months until the weather becomes warmer.

Graph showing seasonal trends in potholes, with a spike in new potholes each winter. SDOT filled 3,800 potholes in March 2019, 3,600 potholes in February 2020, and 2,200 potholes in March 2021.
We fill thousands of potholes every year, and many of them reappear the next winter. Snow and freezing temperatures in February 2019, January 2020, February 2021 each created thousands of potholes. Graphic: SDOT

Check out where potholes have been reported and filled via our interactive Pothole Repair Status Map, or learn more at our Potholes web page.

Our interactive Pothole Repair Status Map shows where crews have been assigned to fill newly reported potholes (left) and where we’ve filled potholes in the past 90 days (right). Please visit the Pothole Repair Status Map for the latest information. Image: SDOT

We prevent potholes before they appear by repaving worn roads throughout Seattle.

Potholes are less likely to occur on roads which have been recently paved. Thanks to the Levy to Move Seattle, we have built over 160 miles of new pavement since 2016, including other recent major paving projects in Green Lake, Delridge, Ballard, and South Seattle. We also plan to re-pave even more streets using Levy funds between now and 2024.

SDOT also proactively preserves and maintains our street pavement across the city through our Slurry Seal program, which helped us resurface more than 200 blocks of city streets in 2021. This street resurfacing work helps to extend these streets’ longevity, which benefits traveler safety and mobility in these communities. This is in addition to the hundreds of smaller spot improvements, like pavement repair, we’ve completed over the past few years.

We greatly appreciate our crew members who work hard to make repairs following winter storms. And thank you again for your patience and care as our team members tackle this difficult work throughout the winter. We also appreciate your reporting potholes when you see them in your neighborhood so we can get them fixed. Thank you, from the entire SDOT Team!