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Mayor Young Challenges Transportation Dept. To Repair 5,000 Potholes In 50 Days

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Emily Sullivan/WYPR
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Baltimore Mayor Jack Young has challenged the city’s Department of Transportation to a 50-day pothole challenge: that is, repairing 5,000 potholes in 50 days. DOT is game, according to Director Steve Sharkey.

The initiative is part of Young’s broader Clean It Up! campaign.

“Making Baltimore cleaner and more beautiful is critical for improving public safety and helping Baltimore’s neighborhoods to become more livable and prosperous,” Young, a Democrat, said on Wednesday.

Potholes occur when water freezes and expands, causing road asphalt to break apart. Freeze and thawing cycles common during Maryland winters make it “pothole season,” Sharkey said. March is the department’s busiest pothole service month. 

The DOT director said that pothole service requests are filled typically within 48 hours. Hitting 100 potholes daily will lead to a 66 percent increase in the number of pothole work orders closed each day, according to a news release from the mayor’s office. 

Sharkey said his department has eagerly accepted Young’s challenge. DOT usually dispatches 6 to 8 pothole service crews a day and will commit additional resources for the next 50 days.

In order to hit the 100 or more service requests a day mark, both Young and Sharkey called on residents to report potholes to 311.    

“Maintenance crews work in specific zones throughout the city to service streets on a proactive basis, but also rely on the public’s help,” Sharkey said.

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.
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