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Smoother streets on the way with new strategic plan for pavement and pothole repairs

Comprehensive street maintenance strategy offered to improve performance and resurface 100 lane miles of streets

Drivers will notice smoother Kansas City streets thanks to new strategies to prevent and patch potholes and a new policy to make sure pavement repairs last longer. City Manager Brian Platt and Public Works Director Michael Shaw revealed a comprehensive strategy for improving street maintenance this year with three key components:

  1. A digital analysis of pavement using cameras attached to city vehicles will help uniformly analyze road surface quality and identify cracks, imperfections, and other underlying issues faster and more equitably.

  2. A more aggressive street resurfacing plan that more than doubles funding for street resurfacing from $17M in FY 20-21 to $39M in the upcoming fiscal year.

  3. A stricter excavation policy that requires better coordination between the city and any utility company cutting into the street. It also requires utility companies to fully resurface as much as an entire block when holes are cut in streets that have recently been resurfaced.

“These strategic improvements and significant additional investments will make dramatic positive changes in the quality of our streets across the city,” Platt said. “This new approach will help us begin to catch up with a chronic, years long challenge our city has faced.”

The city will solicit feedback on the most urgent street resurfacing needs through our 3-1-1 app as well as in collaboration with city council representatives.

"Potholes have been a problem in Kansas City for generations," Mayor Quinton Lucas said. "Listening to the public, we are changing that sad fact, relying on data analysis, increased funding, and better collaboration. I am proud of our city workers who continue to make Kansas City a better place to live, work, and drive."

The strategic approach starts by using a combination of in-house maintenance crews and contractor crews. This will allow us to keep up with demand and provide basic street maintenance services.

“A big goal is to improve our overall street rating while providing smoother streets in all Kansas City neighborhoods,” said Shaw. “We will be strategic and intentional about our approach and deploy our resources wisely to achieve this goal."

The Pothole Plan

Public Works has 16 in-house crews (over 60 employees) dedicated to pothole patching. They are equipped with 10 asphalt trucks, 3 asphalt trailers and 3 dump trucks. We will add contractor crews to help patch potholes on major roads, while KCMO crews focus efforts on neighborhood streets. Roughly $1.3 million is available for pothole patching efforts this season.  

Street Preservation Strategy

The 2021-2022 Street Preservation plan has an initial goal to resurface 100 lane miles of streets. And for the first time, funding will be set aside for each Council District to determine community priorities for street resurfacing.

The City is also working on strategies to prevent potholes in the first place. We know that when utilities cut into roads to make underground repairs, the resulting patch creates a weak spot that leads to potholes. Our new street excavation policy aims to improve coordination with utility companies, update permit fees for digging in our streets and require more extensive repair after underground utility work is complete.

Residents and visitors will see many benefits: reduced potholes and maintenance needs in the long run, less utility conflicts and cutting into newly repaved roads, and pavement will last longer.

Stay up to date and track our progress:  

Media questions can be directed to Maggie Green, Public Works, Public Information Officer at 816-379-6562.


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