The news:

Flashing neon signs and solid red taillights signaled another start of construction season on the Edens Expressway.

Behind the news:

This year, the city will head to the local streets, spending millions to repair potholes. According to an analysis by The Chicago Reporter, the communities with the most potholes repaired per acre are on the city’s West Side.

The Reporter analyzed 2007 pavement maintenance records through the Chicago Department of Transportation, which spent $10 million on pavement maintenance projects in 2007, filling over 270,000 potholes.

Edgewater, the Loop, and West Garfield Park had the highest rate of potholes filled–more than 3.3 potholes per acre each. Riverdale, Hegewisch, and O’Hare bottomed out the list.

Many potholes are first reported to the city’s 3-1-1 line, but sometimes calls are too late to prevent accidents. People have the option to file a vehicle damage claim through the City Clerk’s office. In 2007, 856 claims were filed, including those that are pothole-related. The claims must be processed by the city’s Finance Committee and approved by the City Council.

In 2006, 66 percent of the claims were approved, down 16 percent from the previous year.

Pamela Burse’s claim was recently approved, compensating her $287–less than half the cost of damage–nearly a year after she hit a pothole on the 7000 block of South Pulaski.

Reimbursements typically cover half the cost of repairs since the driver might have avoided the accident, said Finance Committee spokesman Donal Quinlan. “After all,” he said, “It is a settlement.”