RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Community leaders from McAllen, Palmview, Edinburg, and Brownsville said potholes are an issue they are all facing.

ValleyCentral drove through the streets of Palmview to get a better understanding of what residents are facing every day.

“There’s a lot of frustration and we share that frustration too,” said Palmview City Manager, Michael Leo. “We live here. We drive through the same streets to get work every day and you feel the effects and, in all honesty, we understand.”

Palmview sets aside an annual budget of thousands of dollars that goes towards “large purchases” of hot coal mix and other products that are able to help address road damage.

“A lot of times what happens, unfortunately, is the potholes is a short-term fix, fixing the potholes. If bad weather comes or as traffic continues, with time it’s probably gonna give out,” added Leo.

With the issue of sewage pipes being poorly implemented throughout the city though, Palmview is having to dip into taxpayer money more than they anticipated.

When the potholes are paid for with taxpayer dollars, Leo said that money goes strictly toward paying back borrowed money such as bonds.

In the summer of 2021, Leo reported the city taking out $1.7 million in bonds. Leo went on to say, the goal is to repair the entirety of each street rather than just portions, so with the help of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP), Palmview is able to reconstruct a handful of streets every so often.

The Agua Special Utility District (SUD)Wastewater Collection System project is investing $42.2 million for new infrastructure in Palmview as well. Although the project includes $770,000 for patching streets that are damaged during the installation of wastewater lines, Agua has agreed to forward those funds to the city of Palmview so that the entire streets may be paved instead. The city will add an additional $1.5 million to the project. Agua and the City are investing more than $2.3 million to pave the affected streets, according to Palmview’s Public Works website.

Leo confirmed with ValleyCentral that there will be about five streets undergoing reconstruction in the next two weeks. Minor potholes are fixed within the hour because they are reported. Leo said they’ll sometimes take a week or two to fix because “materials are scarce or the place where they manufacture the material might be down.”

The city of Brownsville is also working towards fixing the concern of potholes and road damage every day.
The Public Works and Engineering Director for Brownsville, Armando Gutierrez said when he first started working for the city potholes were not being fixed accordingly and in a timely manner, but he feels as if his current team does a “great job” at addressing the situation.

Gutierrez told ValleyCentral the city budgets between four and $4.2 million a year to tackle road maintenance. The Brownsville Public Works team will drive through the city to look for potholes as they would prefer to catch them first before having a resident call it in.

Minor, standard potholes are typically fixed the day they are reported. The Public Works Director for McAllen, Evira Alonzo also said the city has a quick response time when it comes to potholes. “Most are completed within 24,” but maintenance crews are allowed a timeframe of 48 hours to fill/address the potholes.

Alonzo stated potholes are not only an RGV-wide issue but a national one as well. “We have seen and driven over quite a few potholes in our time. Wherever there is an aged asphalt road, especially a road that has allowed enough moisture to penetrate the tiny cracks caused by traffic and degradation.”

In the city of Edinburg, Public Works Director Richard Romero said he’s been working with the city for years and has seen quite a few potholes throughout their city as well. He said it’s a major resident complaint as it jeopardizes the safety of all.

Romero said they have two teams: the patch truck and the two-man crew in which square off the potholes and then compact it with “fresh, hot mix.” This method can be a permanent repair if “done right,” according to Romero.

The city’s timeframe goal of addressing potholes is between 24 and 72 hours, but he said because of lack of resources, they’re meeting the 72-hour goal.

If the pothole is more so in the middle of the street and more likely to impact a vehicle though, Romero said those take top priority.

Romero told ValleyCentral that the city currently has between 25 and 50 pending pothole repairs a day with 2,500 being filled in 2022. The yearly budget for pothole and street repairs is $100,000 for Edinburg.

Each city ValleyCentral spoke with said they’re looking to stay on top of road maintenance, but to make sure they don’t miss anything, they’re urging residents to report any road damage they see.

Below is a list of resources in which you can report road damage to your city.

  • McAllen: Requests can be made online or through the 311 app.
  • Edinburg: Call the Public Works Administrative Office at 956-388-8210.
  • Brownsville: Call the Public Works Department at 956-546-HELP
  • Palmview: Call the Public Works Department at 956-432-0300
  • Harlingen: Call the Public Works Department at 956-216-5300
  • Mercedes: Call the Public Works Department at 956-565-6147
  • Pharr: Requests can be made through the 311 app.
  • South Padre Island: Call the Right-of-Way Maintenace Division at 956-761-8159
  • Weslaco: Call the Streets Division at 956-973-3146