EAST LOS ANGELES — Some are long, some are circular and some are deep. The scariest time to run into one – literally – is at night. Potholes and other road defects are a fact of daily life for drivers in any community, including unincorporated East L.A., where I recently set out in search of potholes and other problems on local roads, many of which haven’t been re-paved in decades. But while East L.A. streets may have their pothole problems, road conditions appear to be much smoother than in the neighboring City of Los Angeles, based on my informal survey.
Here’s a sampling of what I found: At Oakford Drive and 6th Street, there was a pothole covering about one-square foot. At Hazard Avenue and Floral Drive there’s one of about 2 square feet. Finally, on the 700 S. McBride block, there’s one affecting about 3 square feet.
Despite these and other potholes, the streets did not appear all that bad in East L.A. They were bad enough, but at least not as bad as in the City of Los Angeles, where some places can remind us of bombed-out battle grounds.
Maybe one reason that roads aren’t so bad is because the county’s Road Maintenance Division has, fortunately, an outfit based right in East L.A. On the front lines, their crews are out repairing the roads. Nevertheless, it can take time to get a pothole filled because of the sheer amount of work to be done and the repair process, which needs to be tailored to the specific problem.
How bad can the pothole problem be? Potentially, effects from hitting a big pothole can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in repairs to your vehicle. “The roads in Greater Los Angeles are the most deteriorated in the United States, costing drivers more than $800 a year, according to a national transportation analysis,” said a 2013 L.A. Times story.
Not only can tires be damaged but the suspension system, body panels, drive belt pulleys, etc., can all come under attack. So much so, that the City of L.A. has instituted a new computerized system to process claims from drivers whose cars were damaged by potholes. In the unincorporated areas of the county, like East L.A. claims must go through the Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors. But it can take months to process a claim.
Can we ever win this war? Doubtful, but we can at least try to keep “them” from advancing any further. Do your part and call one in. In East L.A. potholes can be reported by calling 626-458-HELP.
C.J. Salgado is a resident of East Los Angeles