INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- As pothole problems grow across Indianapolis, more people are demanding answers from the mayor’s office.
Over the past few days, we’ve talked to residents, doctors and lawmakers, all questioning if his administration is doing enough.
They’re also worried about what our cratered roads are costing us all.
For at least a week, we’ve been trying to talk with Mayor Joe Hogsett about the problem, but his staff has dodged our requests as Indianapolis drivers are dodging potholes.
Tonight, he dodged a CBS4 crew in person at a community event.
“I will tell you I have nothing to say about the potholes today,” said Hogsett.
The staff for Indy’s mayor though told me he just didn’t have the time. I offered to ask questions on the way to his car.
Hogsett instead told CBS4 that he’d have information tomorrow, but offered few details, other than saying he’d be sharing “substantive stuff” Friday. He told a CBS4 crew he was unable to elaborate further Thursday night because they were still “working on it”.
Governor Eric Holcomb did take questions from a CBS4 crew about the issue after an awards banquet earlier in the day.
Indianapolis roads aren’t the only problem in the state.
Drivers have been stalled by massive potholes on interstates and other state roads too.
“The state has stepped forward an reached out to make sure we have facilities, asphalt facilities, that can start meeting the need right now,” said Holcomb.
Before CBS4 even tracked Mayor Hogsett down, Marion County Republican Party Chair Jim Merritt was already criticizing the mayor’s communication approach.
“The mayor needs to come out of the 25th floor and work on this and talk to us,” said Merritt. “Let us know what the plan is.”
For now, all we know is that another pothole blitz is set to begin Monday and last all week, weather permitting.
But Merritt is as frustrated by that news as the dozens of people we’ve spoken to over the past month. DPW says they filled nearly 31,000 potholes during the blitz three weeks ago, using a full call-out of twenty crews. But even Department of Public Works Director Dan Parker acknowledged many roads are back to the same condition they were before.
“Most people don’t think of DPW as a public safety department, but we are and we take it very seriously,” said Director of the Department of Public Works, Dan Parker. “The men and women who go out and work on these crews, these are the same folks who you know, fight the snow and lay salt down for the ice, so they haven’t had a weekend off since before Christmas.”
Parker says their crews aren’t only filling the holes, they’re also driving on the roads.
He says they too share the frustrations of Indianapolis drivers.
“They’ll see us fix a chuckhole one day, a couple days later it’s gone because the rain may have washed away the winter mix,” said Parker.
Merritt says he wants to see the mayor tell the city what the long-term plan is for fixing the roads. He notes some streets are so riddled with potholes, even patching them with a more permanent mix is only a short-term solution.
“The weather has not been cooperative whatsoever,” said Merritt. “But we have no plan. We have no idea, when the mayor says, “They’re going to be out next week,” we don’t know what they’re doing. All they’re doing is putting a Band-Aid on it.”
The mayor has set a press conference for 10 a.m. Friday to address the issue.