Public Works Department says Harrisburg roads should get better in 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The city’s Public Works Department says there are better roads ahead for the city – literally.

“I’m very optimistic about 2016,” Public Works Director Aaron Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to it, to be honest. We want to be able to get to the potholes.”

“But right now our streets are bad,” Johnson added. “I mean, it’s like a cluster.”

Johnson says the problem now is staffing. Out of the 15 employees in the Highway Division, 10 have to work in the Sanitation Division each day. That leaves five employees to cover all Harrisburg’s streets.

“You have to have manpower,” Johnson said. “I don’t care how much new equipment you have, you have to have manpower. That’s always been the issue at least the last five years.”

The hope is that problem will end in 2016. Johnson says if Council approves his budget, more hires will happen in Sanitation, leaving the entire Highway Division to focus on the roads.

People who work on North 3rd Street, which has several large potholes, say they’re eager for road improvements.

“Last year about this time, we had a patient trip on one of the potholes and fall and hurt herself,” New Passages office manager David Billman said.

“If our patients don’t feel like they’re safe, they may look to go somewhere else,” Billman added. “We don’t want that, and we don’t think the city wants that, either.”

Johnson says it’s important to remember his crews are doing all they can with what they have.

“Considering what we’ve been working under, they’ve been doing an exceptional job,” he said.

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