2014 Chicago Potholes

Potholes within the Communities of Chicago

Ali Lawal
3 min readMar 9, 2021


Potholes are a complete drag to everyday life. Not only do they slow down traffic but, they can also be a serious hazard to drivers of the road. Even some pedestrians are at risk too.

Potholes are a natural underground deep cavity that's formed by the erosion of rock. Potholes are usually formed after the cold and wet seasons when snow and ice are prevalent, like winter.

Here is a three-step model showing how potholes are usually formed over time:

  1. The water from the ice and snow melts into the cracks of the roads with them. When temperatures drop below freezing, the water on the subsurface becomes ice and expand.
  2. As cars drive over these raised pavements, a divot forms under the surface of the pavement. Especially once temperatures rise above freezing.
  3. After much pressure the pavement will eventually give out and break, resulting in a pothole.

Potholes are very common in the city.

Ask anyone who drives the streets of this city and they will probably recall two or three for you just off the top of their heads. A total of 527 potholes were filled back in 2014.

Let us take a look at the map below:

As you can see, potholes are found stretched all throughout the city of Chicago. From the farthest Northend to the farthest South, East, and West; potholes have ravaged the streets of Chicago.

Luckily, the marks indicated on the map are displaying potholes that’s been “fixed”by zip code. Knowing this info gives hope to the streets of Chicago.

What can you do when you come across a pothole?

  1. When you are faced with a physical pothole ahead, it’s best you try to avoid it at all costs. In doing so, you’ll protect your car from damage as well as your health.
  2. If you’re not too fortunate to dodge a pothole in a time one presents itself, drive over it slowly, and avoid breaking immediately before hitting one. This will reduce damage if any is caused.
  3. File a claim. In Chicago, a driver has the right to file a claim when a car is damaged as a result of a pothole. In most cases, claims are rejected or ignored for unknown reasons. Fortunately, Chicago appears a lot more generous compared to some other cities. According to Chicago Magazine, the city paid off 754 claims, at an average of $240 per claim. Although this expense may not cover a full cost of damage towards a vehicle, it’s still something that’s being given and something is always better than nothing right?
  4. Last but not least, take mental (or physical) notes of potholes you come across or seen. Doing something like this will help you be more aware of them in the future. Furthermore, one might consider sharing what they found to other drivers or directly to the official Illinois Department of Transportation.

Potholes are like pimples on a face. They pop up everywhere, cause a bit of drama, then go away with the proper “treatment”.

Although they pose a problem there IS a fix.

Just remember, the efforts of keeping potholes in check ultimately involves community. A community willing to share their findings and help one another. This, will then make potholes just a tad more bearable in the City of Chicago.