Waiting for city workers to repair local streets can take a long time but for Winnipeg resident Calvin Hawley, getting someone to fix his curb could take approximately 44 years.
Hawley told CBC News that a snow removal machine wrecked part of the curb outside his house in January 1993. After reporting the damage to the city, he waited for crews to come and correct the damage. They never came.
“One time, they told me the system for logging complaints had changed,” Hawley said, “and my previous complaints weren’t on record.”
He kept calling the city of Winnipeg on and off for around 24 years until the day he finally heard the sound of work crews on his street.
“I was watching crews merrily drive past the front of my driveway to stop and repair other curbs on the other side of the bay that weren’t as damaged as mine or as old,” Hawley said.
After finally emailing 311, Hawley was given a case number. When he checked the status of his complaint online, he learned that his curb would be fixed before June 26, 2037.
“How is that reasonable?” Hawley asked.
Bureaucracy sometimes plays a part in street repairs taking longer than residents would like. But often, because of winter weather, public works crews just can’t keep up.
Maggie Green of Kansas City Public Works in Missouri told WDAF that although crews have repaired almost 100,000 potholes, there are 700 still waiting to be filled.
“Every time we see weather, rain or snow or the freeze-thaw cycle we see in the winter, that causes new cracks to form, cracks to open up and new potholes to form,” Green said, adding that the city will monitor and deal with road surfacing issues for the next few months.
Potholes aren’t only annoying. They can also be expensive. Data from the American Auto Association stated that vehicle repairs cost U.S. drivers $3 billion per year. That’s an average of $306 per repair bill.
But it isn’t always holes that drivers run over. Roadkill is an issue all by itself. In July 2019, Animal Services in Winnebago County, Illinois stopped picking up dead animals from along the roadside, according to the Richmond Register Star.
Animal Services Administrator Brett Frazier said that removing animal carcasses from the side of the road “takes our officers away from other calls where we can be providing real and valuable service to the people and animals of Winnebago County.”
“Obviously, we can’t just have dead animals out on the street,” said Mayor Tom McNamara of the city of Rockford. “Unfortunately, that’s what we have today. We are working on a solution.”
In 2015, a dead Canadian raccoon dubbed “Conrad” on a Toronto sidewalk gained social media fame after his discovery one morning. As the day went on, people turned the site where the raccoon was found into a memorial, leaving flowers and accepting funds for a proper burial.
Conrad was disposed of by an Animal Control officer later that same evening.