The Investigators: Rough Ride

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Business owners along Swinnea Road between Winchester and Shelby Drive are sick of the rough ride.

"I pay a heck of a lot of taxes here in the city I deserve to have smooth streets just like everybody else," said Mack Jepsen of Jefferson Maintenance Service.

The ups and downs of bubbling pavement have been damaging to Jepsen's fleet of maintenance trucks.

"We have equipment trailers hauling equipment in here to be repaired, and its just knocking the axle u-bolts out from under it," he said.

David Reel, an employee at a nearby warehouse, says the drive is down right dangerous.

"I've seen stuff fly off of trucks all the time over there," he said. "I've actually ran over a shovel that's popped off the back of someone's truck."

That flying shovel knocked the heat shield off his gas tank.

"Now every time I start my car, you get this horrible sound here," he said.

An Action News Five investigation reveals the city of Memphis recently received $33 million in stimulus money to fix city streets, but the director of Memphis Public Works, Dwan Gilliom, says there's a long road ahead.

"We try to pave all of the streets within the city of Memphis once every 22 to 25 years," Gilliom said.

In fact, Swinnea IS on the list of roads to be repaved by the end of 2009.  Gilliom said he was unaware of how bad Swinnea was, but within minutes of finding out from Action News 5 of its condition, Public works took action.

Crews were out repairing the road the very next day.

"We fill on an average of 55,000 potholes a year, but we only receive about 2,000 annually," Gilliom said.

That's 2,000 complaints, resolved in the order they are reported - often on the same day.  If Gilliom's numbers are right crews repair more than 1,000 potholes each week.

The key to a quick repair is to report it.  Here's how:

  • Call the Memphis Public Works Department at 576-6742.
  • For potholes call the city's pothole hotline at 528-2911.
  • It's best to call before noon for same day service, and if your vehicle is damaged by defects in the road call the city claims office at 636-6585.
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