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‘It’s like an obstacle course’: Local drivers navigate the city’s gaping potholes

Traffic navigated a pockmarked stretch of Beacon Street near Berkeley Street Tuesday.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Spring ushers in more than warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, leaves on trees, and Opening Day at Fenway Park.

It’s also pothole season.

Ask any Boston driver and they’ll tell you it’s not fun maneuvering around concrete craters that dot many Boston’s streets. And some are wondering why the gaping holes in roadways aren’t getting fixed.

“It’s like they forgot to pave the roads,” said Sheila Murray, who lives on Beacon Street. “There’s no fill-ins at all, it’s terrible.”

Potholes, caused by freeze-thaw cycles that repeat through the first few months of the year, generated 3,326 repair requests in Boston’s 311 service as of March 21, according to a Globe report.


Calls and emails seeking comment from Mayor Michelle Wu’s office and the city’s public works department were not returned on Thursday.

The first four months of the year accounted for more than half of all repair requests from 2014 to 2023, dubbing January through April “pothole season,” said Jason Skibo, a landscape designer.

“It’s the same thing every year,” said Skibo, who travels daily from Lynn to the Back Bay for work.

He said he sees more potholes than he can count during his commute, adding that many of them “get patched pretty quickly.”

“The really bad ones usually get patched or filled within maybe five to seven days, which I think is pretty good,” said Skibo. “But I’m probably more lenient than other people.”

According to the city’s website, Boston prioritizes fixing potholes. Because repairing roadways in the winter is difficult and expensive, the city makes “temporary fixes” until permanent repairs begin in the spring. Officials visually inspect the condition of streets and sidewalks once every three years, and potholes that are easily accessible take around two days to fill, the website said.


Some drivers said they fear the gaping holes are causing irreparable damage to their vehicles. Liv Sayers, a 23-year-old Back Bay resident, said the issue is especially prevalent on Beacon and Marlborough streets.

“Sometimes it makes a very loud noise when I’m driving and I worry about the suspension on my car and the brakes,” said Sayers. “It’s more than just a few, it’s all over the entire road.”

Richard Giglio, a realtor who commutes from Weymouth to Boston, said he recently turned in a leased car with damage from a pothole.

“The right front wheel was bent, and [the rental company worker] said, ‘you must have hit a really bad pothole,’ “ Giglio, 77, said as he stepped out of his car Thursday afternoon on Dartmouth Street. “I still haven’t heard from them what it’s going to cost me.”

Giglio said its been a few years since he last lived in Boston, but said he still remembers where the biggest potholes are and makes sure he drives slowly to avoid them.

“I think we have a right to expect the streets to be in reasonable condition,” said Giglio. “I know there are things that are a lot more pressing and we have bigger problems in our society, but people’s cars are getting ruined by hitting these potholes.”

Jack Dario, who lives on Gloucester Street in the Back Bay, said his MINI Cooper is constantly “bottoming out” on the city’s bumpy roads.

“I’ve lived in Boston since 2016 and I feel like it’s been an issue the whole time I’ve been here,” said Dario. “I haven’t noticed them getting fixed.”


Lila Hempel-Edgers can be reached at lila.hempeledgers@globe.com. Follow her on X @hempeledgers and on Instagram @lila_hempel_edgers.