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Public voices frustration as drivers deal with major potholes

DULUTH, MN — Drivers are dealing with some major potholes in Duluth that just keep getting worse with this winter weather, and the Park Point neighborhood is no exception.

With only one route connecting Park Point to the rest of the city, neighbors say cars are suffering serious damage along South Lake Avenue, and they’re calling on the city to take action.

Joel Johnson has owned property along Park Point since 1959.

“The potholes have been just atrocious this year,” Johnson said.

Johnson says potholes have popped up here and there in years past, but this winter has brought some of the worst.

“I’ve never seen them this bad,” Johnson said. “It’s not just one pothole that you can steer into the parking lanes, or the bike lanes, and get around it. It’s they’re right straight across the road. They’re up and down the road. It’s just — It’s been miserable.”

Johnson, who owns both the Lakehead Boat Basin and the Fairfield Inn, says these pothole problems have been bad for business.

“They’re losing their cars in the potholes they’re getting so big. It’s unavoidable for the first, at least, five blocks of Park Point,” Johnson said.

Johnson says hotel guests have complained numerous times about the bumpy roads and have even questioned why they came to Duluth.

“They think with the road going in and that that the business owners are responsible for it, or the owners, and it’s not,” Johnson said. “It’s a city operation that has to be taken care of.”

Fixes are underway this week. On Tuesday, city crews were out on South Lake Avenue patching the holes with asphalt.

“Weather is obviously doing its thing, and making these potholes,” Johnson said. “The city, I understand, is out trying to take care of a few of them today, and make it a little bit more pleasant. But that’s going to be one of those things that a major repair in the spring with all the potholes out there.”

As neighbors remain hopeful that roads run smooth soon.

“I’m sure they’ve had enough calls into City Hall that they don’t need another one complaining, so I’m hoping they do their job and help us out, and take care of that stuff.”

The city of Duluth is applying for a $1 million state grant to help repair Lake Avenue from the Aerial Lift Bridge, with construction planned for 2021.

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Gamiel Hall

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