Why Mayor Levar Stoney is filling Richmond potholes

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney celebrated a milestone with the Department of Public Works (DPW).

On Wednesday, Stoney put on his boots and gloves to repair the city's 20,000th pothole this year. City Hall touted in 2016, before Stoney was mayor, DPW repaired just 18,000 potholes the entire year.

"We started with three teams a day, 50 pot holes per crew, a team that consisted of temporary workers and full-time employees of the city. This shows you the diligence of the department of public works," Mayor Stoney said.

DPW director Bobby Vincent said at one point, there were 800 open tickets for pothole repairs in the system.

There are currently 50.

Stoney also announced progress in repairing city alleyways, many of which he said had been neglected for a long time. Richmond City Council approved $700,000 for work on alleyways. Vincent said workers have graded more than 1,000 alleys, which equals more than 70 miles of alleys across the city.

"With the funding, we were able to go out and run equipment, obtain additional temporary employees in order to help us to great the alleys in order to make for a smoother surface for a residence. We weren't able to get it every alleycat map but we certainly made a dent in the backlog," Vincent said.

Vincent said that freed up other crews to focus on potholes.

"This is all about being in the city that feels good, that looks good. Potholes are obviously a sign of neglect. We want to show folks that pay taxes here in the city that we care about them. So we're going to try to get as many parties as we can. Twenty thousand is a good start, but it's just the first step," Stoney said.

Vincent said to really get rid of the pothole issue, they'd have to focus on a permanent fix by paving the city streets and hiring permanent crews. But to do that, they need more funding.

"We are announcing 20,000 today, but I do understand that more than likely in someone's neighborhood, we have not gotten to your pothole yet. But I would say help is on the way. We're going to try to get as many potholes as we can, and also continue to eliminate the backlog," the mayor said.