Where are the worst potholes in the suburbs?
Pizza deliveryman Ricardo Marquez bought a new car last spring, so the 23-year-old is especially cautious when he makes his deliveries in an 8-mile radius around Rosati's, 1069 Rohlwing Road in Elk Grove Village. The most potholes, he said, are along Devon Avenue and Arlington Heights Road. "I started to anticipate certain spots, where you stay in the opposite lane," Marquez said. "But I'll (still) hit them. You hit them and the car shakes."
The scariest street in Schaumburg is the road known both as National Parkway and State Parkway, says Superintendent of Field Services John Williams. The reason: Heavy truck traffic on top of concrete surfaces, which patching material doesn't stick to as well. During the winter of 2011-12, Schaumburg Public Works patched 6,210 potholes, while there have been only 2,116 to patch this winter since Nov. 1.
Scott Rowader, street foreman with the Arlington Heights Public Works department, said the village's older streets are faring worse, such as Kirchoff and Wilke roads. Rowader said the department has committed all of its people to patching potholes around town this week to deal with the problem.
Potholes have made their mark on Walnut Avenue in Hanover Park, Mayor Rodney Craig says. Public works has launched a pothole offensive, inspecting every street for the pests. "They've had their hands full," Craig said. In the last eight business days, Hanover Park has used seven tons of materials to patch potholes. Street Supervisor Scott Weber said crews are hitting the streets every day this week, starting from the village's northern edge and moving south. "It's nonstop," Weber said. "We finish, and we start over."
The worst potholes in DuPage County, according to well-traveled Daily Herald DuPage Photo Editor Scott Sanders, are on Butterfield Road in Lombard between Route 53 and I-355. "I worry that when I drive along there, I'm going to break an axle," he said.
Ask taxi company dispatcher Patti Felton of Flat Rate Cab in Lombard about the worst potholes and she gives a passionate answer: Highland Avenue in Lombard between Roosevelt Road and 22nd Street. "That street is so bad. My daughter almost got hit with a rock," she said. "It's like a quarry on the curb because of all the rocks that fly up."
Christopher Snyder, DuPage County's director of transportation, said there haven't been significant problems this year along the roughly 220 miles of roads maintained by the county's division of transportation. "It's a pothole here, pothole there type of thing," Snyder said. "We have no sections of road that have gotten to a point where we're out there regularly and every day addressing something."
There is a small stretch of West Dugdale Road in Waukegan where the road is buckling, or more accurately, humps have developed. Signs are posted about the rough road ahead and drivers slow down to 1 or 2 miles per hour to avoid damaging their cars.
"The worst I've seen in Wauconda is on Route 59, from Route 12 to Route 176," said Public Works Director Brad Fink. February, March and April are the worst months for potholes because roads are rapidly freezing and thawing, but even so, Fink says, try to avoid swerving into the oncoming lane of traffic.
Batavia Police Deputy Chief Dan Eul emailed us that Route 31 seems to be the worst, particularly the outside lanes in both directions. The positively worst stretch is between Millview Drive and Mooseheart Road just south of the city. Eul said a number of vehicles reported flat tires Friday afternoon during rush hour - Kane County Sheriff's Lt. Patrick Gengler concurred, and said state workers were patching the holes over the weekend.
Customers at Firestone Complete Car Care, 2225 W. Main St., St. Charles, told tire manager Neil Garity that the worst potholes in Kane County were on Route 38 between Randall Road and Williamsburg Avenue in Geneva. "They did actually fill those finally," said Garity. "It was really bad." Last year, customers complained about a nasty pothole along Route 38 in West Chicago under the Route 59 overpass that bent several rims, he recalled.
Pockmarked Maple Avenue is home to the worst potholes in Carpentersville, Village President Ed Ritter said. Maple Avenue is undergoing a $7.2 million reconstruction, and it's been difficult to fill potholes during construction - and four water main breaks in the past month haven't helped, Streets Superintendent Jack Clifton added. Maple Avenue links to several factories, which means it takes a beating from heavy truck traffic. "Between the heavy construction equipment and the semis, it's real hard to keep it under good repair," Ritter said.
I drive all over the county for my coverage most work days. I concur with all of these except for the Wayne entry. I haven't checked that one out.
• Powis Road between Army Trail and Stearns roads in Wayne; and Route 38 in Geneva, just west of the downtown. Thanks to St. Charles community activist Vanessa Bell-Lasota.
• Dean Street between Randall and Peck roads, and McLean Boulevard between Route 20 and Larkin High School Road. Thanks to Deputy Kane County Clerk and radio talk show host Jeff Ward.
The worst potholes in Elgin are on Dundee Avenue from Congdon Avenue to Summit Street, said Ivan Sanchez, driver manager for Walter's Towing & Road Services in Elgin. "It's worse (in) the daytime because there's a lot of cars trying to avoid them," he said. Truck driver Tommy Lemon said he's been getting calls for blown tires four or five times a day. "I had to get a new jack, I changed so many tires," he said. Even the tow trucks themselves aren't immune. "The other day I helped change one of the tow truck tires that hit a pothole," Lemon said. "Those are bigger tires, like garbage truck tires. You know how bad it is."
In my travels around Kane County, one of the diciest spots has to be Miller Road at Sleepy Hollow Road in Carpentersville. The potholes, which number at least a dozen within 100 yards of the corner, aren't the deepest you'll find, but their sheer numbers have drivers using every inch of road to avoid them - even if that means driving in the wrong lane. Although crews were out Tuesday patching some of them, that section of road is a perennial pothole nightmare. Second place for me goes to the westbound lanes of the Jane Addams Tollway. I drive it every night heading home to Roscoe, and watch out - especially between Elgin and the Route 20 exit in Hampshire. In darkness or rain, you can take it slow and suffer the wrath of other drivers, or risk blowing a tire.
I find that while traveling in the Fox Valley, sometimes road buckling can be worse than the foot deep potholes. Driving west on Route 20 past Randall Road the road buckles every 10 feet or so. It's quite a roller coaster - in fact, the few times I have had my kids with me they have felt nauseated. I have also dodged my fair shair of deep potholes along McLean Blvd. in Elgin, just south of Larkin High School.
In my travels for the Daily Herald, I can drive as many as 100 miles a day on local roads. One road that is always bad is McLean Blvd. in Elgin, between Larkin High School and ECC. This winter has made that rotten road even worse. Route 31 in also has a number of jarring holes all the way from Huntey Road in Carpentersville to the post office at Strom Road in West Dundee.
In Sugar Grove, the worst potholes are on Dugan Road, north of Route 30 to the northern village boundary. This street will get an asphalt overlay this year. In addition, Route 56 "has some good potholes leading from I-88 to Route 47," said Sugar Grove Police Chief Patrick Rollins.