Story by Nick Austin
Eyewitness News Meteorologist

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB-TV)--Potholes are a nuisance to motorists, causing vehicle damage and sometimes accidents.  The city of Chattanooga, however, has been working hard to make sure potholes are repaired quicker and in a wider range of areas.  This has been accomplished by placing help at your fingertips--just a phone call away.

"Anytime they see an issue that needs to be dealt with they can call 3-1-1," said Tony Boys with the Chattanooga Public Works Department.

After answering some questions, a service request is immediately sent to the Public Works Department which will then dispatch a crew to the scene.  The 3-1-1 system was established eight years ago as a more efficient way to report and fix potholes.  Before 3-1-1, workers had to spend time patrolling for diverts and often didn't have time to search all parts of the city.

"They would keep a watch on principal, arterial roads which are main roads throughout the city and keep those up to date," explained Boyd.  "Very seldom would they get to the residential neighborhoods."

According to Boyd, 30-50 potholes are filled on average per week.  Even though the department has only two trucks dedicated to this service, most jobs are completed the same day.  However, during peak times the number of calls to 3-1-1 can often double.

"Early spring and late winter, and somewhat in early fall when you have more freeze-thaw cycles," said Boyd.  During these periods some repairs may take longer, but the goal is always a five day turnaround at most.