Large portion of D.C. roads in poor condition

WASHINGTON — Almost 40 percent of local roads in the District are in poor, very poor or failed condition, and the District Department of Transportation cannot keep up with all the service requests, according testimony at a council hearing.

DDOT’s acting director, Matthew Brown, appeared Tuesday before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment.

He said the agency has filled 51,815 potholes this year, following the harshest winter in years.

AAA Mid-Atlantic offered perspective on the outworking of bumpy roads: Spokesman John Townsend testified that the car club saw a 20 percent jump year over year in flat tires, stretching from winter through the spring.

Another central question in the hearing involved claims from residents that their requests for pothole repairs — via 311 calls and other means — sometimes go unattended.

Brown was realistic.

“We must prioritize the requests that we receive, and it’s simply not feasible to promptly address every service request that is submitted,” he told the committee.

A report on the condition of the roads showed only 10 percent of local streets are in excellent condition. Twenty-four percent were in good condition.

But 38 percent have been identified as being in conditions worse than “fair.”

“Let’s try to be straight forward here: Is this a good record?” asked Mary Cheh, Ward 3, the committee chair.

DDOT conceded those figures need to improve, but it cited inadequate funding levels over the years that have compromised the roads.

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