EL CENTRO — After nearly losing her life following a traffic accident caused by large potholes along the Heber roads, Bethamee Garcia approached the Imperial County Board of Supervisors during the public comments portion of the August 2 meeting, and stressed the need of potholes repairs in Heber and the danger residents face daily.
“One Saturday afternoon while driving down Yourman Road in Heber, along with my mother who was the passenger, I hit a pothole well over five feet, blowing both left side tires and causing me to lose control of my vehicle and eventually swerving me into the canal,” said Garcia. “It could have easily cost both my mother and my life.”
Garcia said she wants to create awareness of the dangers potholes create, specifically the ones on Heber streets, the city where she resides.
“The roads inside my hometown (Heber) are pretty much non-existent,” claimed Garcia.
Taking it upon herself, Garcia said she measured a linear mile and then counted over 105 potholes in that short span.
“We counted over 105 potholes in just one mile,” said Garcia. “Some of our streets have never been resurfaced in over 40 years. Some of the potholes have eaten up parts of curbs, gutter and sidewalks.”
Researching further, Garcia noted that in Imperial County, between the cities of Heber, El Centro, Calexico and Brawley, there is an average of 78 potholes per county road.
“We (the Heber community) have spoken to and reached out to our local government only to be told that we (Heber) do not qualify, all due to the amount of new streets and development around our old town,” Garcia said.
Furthermore, Garcia handed out packets to the board members and public with numerous pictures of existing potholes in need of repair.
Chairman Jack Terrazas responded by saying Heber was the next community to undergo road repairs. However, he was unsure of the specific dates. Terrazas also pointed out that state funding cuts this year might jeopardize the project.
“To date, six out of the seven communities that we undertook six years ago have been completed,” said Terrazas. “We are doing one community at a time. Repairs were made based upon an initial analysis that was done at the time as to who were in worst shape. It was just a coincidence that Heber was in the best shape at the time, and was placed last.”
District 5 Supervisor John Renison recommended the county consider “skin patching” the areas, which is a less costly fix, considering the state cuts.
“This would take care of the problem for at least three or four years, but hey, that’s three or four years instead of waiting for a complete repaving situation,” said Renison. “We need to use our resources wisely and look into that instead of waiting one, two or three years. I think we need to put these streets to be skin patched on an immediate basis, or on a sooner, rather than later basis.”
Terrazas also reminded the public potholes can be reported either online at www.co.imperial.ca.us/publicwork/pothole.asp or by calling 1-844-558-5016.