How to File a Complaint, Fix a Pothole in Kansas City

Large potholes filled with water from a recent storm dot the roadway along Genessee Street, just off Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City.  The road is a busy thoroughfare leading to the Interstate 35 on-ramps.

Large potholes filled with water from a recent storm dot the roadway along Genessee Street, just off Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City. The road is a busy thoroughfare leading to the Interstate 35 on-ramps.

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Why does it take so long to fill a pothole in Kansas City?

Kansas City unveiled a plan to improve the way it repairs and repaves roads last year. But the data shows the city has patched about a third fewer potholes in the past year than the year before.


Potholes are ubiquitous on Kansas City streets, along with other road damage like cracks and uneven pavement patches.

The city’s public works department says there’s far more damage than it has money to repair immediately, so it needs to figure out which repairs to prioritize. It’s there that you intervene.

Whether it’s calling 311 or getting creative with highlighting an issue in your neighborhood, public feedback can help determine which potholes and other blemishes take priority.

Here’s how to contact the city about a pothole in your area:

1. Report it to 311

A 311 report is the fastest and easiest way to notify the city of a pothole.

The city’s 311 Action Center is the clearinghouse for pothole repair requests. You can reach him by calling 311 or using My KCMO Mobile App. If you don’t have access to a phone or the internet, city spokeswoman Maggie Green confirmed that you can also write a letter to the public works department at 414 E. 12th St.

Service requests via 311 are the city’s primary means of determining which potholes need to be filled. It groups reported potholes by location and assigns locations to the daily routes of general maintenance crews. These crews then fill the potholes in question with asphalt and roll them flat to keep the road smooth.

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The Public Works Department told The Star it will also repair nearby potholes in the area that were not reported to 311. Overall, city documents say crews tasked potholes “actually fill nearly 5 times the number of potholes reported to 311”.

2. Contact your local councilor

This approach is better for a damaged road or section of road, rather than a single pothole.

The city recently doubled its repaving budget to more efficiently repair potholes and other road damage.

In this process, city-hired crews use huge machines to grind up a road’s top layer of asphalt and replace it with fresh asphalt.

While repaving projects are typically decided by the city up to a year in advance, each city council district also has $500,000 in funding it can use for projects requested by residents.

Contact your city councilor by telephone, e-mail or in person to make them aware of the problem in question. It may be helpful to ask your neighbors to report the problem to you as well.

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Dexter Murray, vice president of the Boston Heights and Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, is pictured with a pothole on Woodland Avenue near Linwood Boulevard. Murray said the fixes put in place by city teams aren’t working and in many cases are making the problem worse. Rich Suggestions [email protected]

3. Submit a request to the Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC)

This 13-member group is responsible for gathering public input on major construction projects and hearing residents’ maintenance priorities. You can submit a request via the group’s online form: The deadline is August 31.

Your application shouldn’t just include potholes – it can cover a number of other categories, including sidewalks, curbs, drains, traffic lights and even public parks. Applications submitted this summer will be reviewed over the coming year. If accepted, your proposed project would begin in the summer of 2023.

PIAC includes members from every city council district – you can find your representatives, along with their phone numbers, at the bottom of the committee’s web page. You can also contact the Capital Improvement Program office by phone at 816-513-1062 or by email at [email protected]

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Frank Sereno parked his mobile marquee at the intersection of 75th Street and Wornall Road in a bid to encourage passing motorists to sign his online petition. The petition calls on the city to repair or resurface deteriorated streets in Kansas City’s Waldo neighborhood. Rich Suggestions [email protected]

4. Be creative

Disgruntled residents around the world have taken it upon themselves to creatively call attention to potholes when traditional avenues don’t work.

Waldo resident Frank Sereno is one of them: his creative protests have included a birthday party for a pothole and a makeshift stunt driving lesson on a particularly bumpy road in his neighborhood.

Other unusual pothole protests have included obscene graffiti and internet memes UK, plant a banana tree in a particularly large pothole in Florida, holding ceremonies to officially naming potholes politicians in India and much more.

While Sereno says he won’t break the law with protests like spraying graffiti or obstructing traffic, he plans to continue holding fun, peaceful and legal protests in the future.

“I turned it into something positive,” he said. “We threw a graduation party [for a pothole] when they came out and fixed it. I invited all of Waldo over and we bought cake, we had candles, we had balloons. We turned it into a fun neighborhood thing. And my neighbors came out and I got to meet neighbors that I had never met, and they were grateful that I was trying to get things done. And it’s great.

Do you have any other questions about public works in Kansas City? Ask the Service Journalism team at [email protected].

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Natalie Wallington is a reporter for The Star’s Help Desk, covering government programs, community resources, COVID-19 data and environmental action, among other topics. His journalism has previously appeared in The Washington Post, Audubon Magazine, Popular Science, VICE News and elsewhere.