Potholes create problems for drivers

By The Beacon | March 23, 2011 9:00pm

(Alissa White -- The Beacon)

By Philippe Boutros, Staff Writer -- boutros14@up.edu

The University of Portland's Physical Plant recently repaired some of the potholes in the main parking lot behind the Pilot House, but they are only temporary fixes, due to budget restraints.

"We fixed them as best we can," Assistant Director of Physical Plant Faye Beeler said.

The potholes affect many UP students, faculty and employees as well as visitors to the campus.

"I'm glad they did something about it," freshman Zachary Hyrndej said. "I had started to know by heart which parts of the parking lot were the bumpiest. It was getting pretty bad since the beginning of the semester."

After rainfall, potholes tend to form when the water disrupts the base material under the surface asphalt, creating a void. The asphalt can no longer support the weight of traffic and potholes develop. Apart from causing an uncomfortable ride, severe potholes have the potential to damage cars.

"Some student bent her rim and flattened her tire because of a pothole many years ago," Jim Haines, the sports fields maintenance manager, said. "When you drove across it you could feel it in your teeth," Haines said.

"This sounds silly, but I tripped because of a pothole once on my way back from Villa," freshman Katy Stevens said.

Physical Plant temporarily repaired the potholes by filling them in with asphalt. However, this treats only the symptoms, not the problem.

The real problem comes from how the parking lot was originally constructed, according to Haines.

"The main parking lot was built in the early 40s, when standards were lower," Haines said. "They just scraped the ground and put the gravel on it. People were used to the rattling because they were driving Model T's and stuff."

Facilities and Construction Director Paul Luty told Haines that re-paving the unfinished section of the parking lot would cost a little over $100,000, and they would try to get it done this summer if funding is available.

"When it comes to funding priorities on campus, it's buildings first, then utilities, and then asphalt comes last," Haines said. "But things have been looking pretty good money-wise recently."

Due to recent construction work at The Bauccio Commons and The Chapel of Christ the Teacher, the road leading there is also in need of repair.

(Alissa White -- The Beacon)

(Alexander Domingo -- The Beacon)