Asheville pothole-filled road to get repaired? – Citizen Times

Today’s burning question asks whether a particular road will see repairs anytime soon. Have a question for Answer Man or Answer Woman? Email Interim Executive Editor Karen Chávez at KChavez@citizentimes.com and your question could appear in an upcoming column.
Question: Orchard Road between Albemarle Road and Cherokee Road has been in poor condition for years. My grandson rides a Onewheel and I am very concerned that a pothole could be disastrous for him. Not to mention my tires. The lighting is bad also. There is no way to avoid the potholes as there are just too many. Is there any hope for repairs?
Answer: A section of this road is, indeed, in terrible shape. If I could ride a Onewheel at all, I wouldn’t be doing it here.
If repairs or improvements are made to Orchard Road, in North Asheville, they’ll be done by the city’s Public Works Department. The department has an official inventory of streets that it is responsible for. All other streets in Asheville are maintained privately or by the state’s Department of Transportation. Here’s the complete inventory, a useful little document that can speed up the process of finding out who’s supposed to handle upkeep.
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At this time, there are no plans for work to be done on Orchard Road, the Public Works Department told me by way of city spokesperson Kim Miller. That made me wonder how the city prioritizes which roads to fix.
“Basically, how this happens is the City of Asheville uses third-party vendors or third-party contractors to go out and assess the conditions of our streets,” Miller said.
“You’ve seen the streets that are under our purview,” she said in reference to the inventory. “Through a combination of regular maintenance (and) community input, we’ve got a pretty good idea” of what roads will be resurfaced in the near future.
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The contractors assign roads a numerical value to determine how badly they’re in need of repair, Miller said.
“We enter that into a street management software program, which helps us collate all this information,” she said. “The logarithm in that program is designed to then narrow down for us, you know, the top choices, or how it thinks roads should be prioritized for resurfacing. Our streets division leadership then goes in and manually looks at that list and decides what roads that we can address for that year.”
She stressed that the logarithm is a tool, and it doesn’t have the final say in resurfacing. Community input, risk and how much can be done with allocated money are also factors.
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“What I do want to get across is that we don’t just stick to some computer program, right?” she said. “A lot of this is our guys literally with boots on the ground, looking at these things, and having institutional knowledge: knowing what we repaired, which streets are driven more frequently … and having that real human and community element factored in as we determine the priority of the roads.”
Something tells me this reader has already tried, but she or anyone else can report a worn-down road with the Asheville App or by calling the city’s customer service line at 828-251-1122. Fair warning, though: that’s the same number people are calling for water issues this week, after tens of thousands of people have gone with limited or no service for days.
Ryan Oehrli covers public safety for the Citizen Times. Questions? Comments? Tips? Send them to coehrli@citizentimes.com.