City of Duluth Working on Potholes and Drainage Concerns on Roads

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: March 14, 2019 10:39 PM

Back to back snow storms and record breaking snowfall kept plows on the roads longer than usual. Jim Benning, the director of Public Works & Utilities for the City of Duluth, said that might be a reason why our roads have a lot of wear and tear.

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The City of Duluth provided an update on street maintenance Thursday.

"It’s more often that those plows are pushing their blades on that asphalt and popping out what were previously good patches,” Jim Benning, the director of Public Works & Utilities for the City of Duluth, said.

With the snow starting to melt, street maintenance is the new focus. Potholes and drainage concerns have the city taking extra measures to make roads drivable and safe again.

"Currently utility operation crews are out steaming culverts and clearing catch basins, 11,000 of them to be exact,” Benning said.

A temporary cold mix of asphalt is what the city is using to fix large potholes for now.

"What we're waiting on is for the hot mix plants to open up sometime in mid-May to get the hot mix, which becomes a much more permanent patch,” Benning said.

And an area that's been affected worse by potholes is South Lake Avenue on Park Point. The city is planning a project to fix the road.

"We’ve received a lot of calls. The road is in pretty bad shape and needs more than pothole patching," Benning said.

Water drainage has also been a concern on Park Point as well. An area particularly affected is Minnesota Avenue, from ninth to 11th street.

"Park Point is a real challenge for us because it's very flat and storm sewers are at or below lake level. It’s draining, but very slowly,” Chris Kleist, the utility operations supervisor for the City of Duluth said.

The city is encouraging residents to help by keeping storm drains clear of snow and litter and also by giving the city a heads up on large potholes, flooding, or drainage issues in the area.

"We know streets and infrastructure are critical part of how people experience the city and pride of who we are,” Emily Larson, the mayor for the City of Duluth, said. “I’m glad as a city we have a sustainable long term streets plan. Our dedicated sales tax that passed the entire city with 77 percent approval rating.”

Larson said she’s been working on advocating for the city at the state capitol and getting support for a half-percent increase in the city's sales tax. She said the city is working on getting it approved from the Minnesota Legislature.

“This sales tax that would be fully dedicated to streets would generate $7 million every year. That would bring us to $10 million a year of commitment on streets and that’s what the community deserves,” Larson said.

The number to call for street maintenance concerns is 218-730-5100.


Alejandra Palacios

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