SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Central Coast roadways have taken a beating during recent rainstorms. Drivers who travel on any number of local highways and streets throughout the area will see many potholes that have developed over the last several days.
"There's a lot more potholes," said driver Heather Karpan, while filling up with gas in Santa Maria on Tuesday afternoon. "They're really large and they're hard to miss, especially with the amount of traffic out here. It's hard to swerve around the holes."
While some stretches of roadways with newer pavement have fared well, other more older roads are seeing significant wear and tear.
"It's crazy!" said Tyrell Jones of Santa Maria. "Some of them are like 12 inches deep. They're pretty gnarly. You have to hold onto your wheel pretty tight if you see it. If you don't see it, just try not to freak out when you hit them."
One stretch of roadway in rough shape is Highway 101 through the Nipomo area. Several large potholes, particularly along the right shoulder can been seen.
Drivers said Tuesday the amount of potholes, along with the size of many, have them concerned about their personal safety.
"It's very dangerous because you can't avoid them," said Karpan. "It knocks your driving off-center. If you're going over 35 miles per hour you can probably even lose control of your vehicle."
Another concern for many is the damage potholes many cause to their vehicle.
"I don't like any potholes," said Jones. "They are bad for your suspension and alignment or your balancing."
Caltrans, which maintains the state roadway system, is actively addressing the issue.
"Potholes are a top priority for us here at Caltrans,," said public information officer Alexa Bertola. "Before, during and after a storm, we have our maintenance crews that are patrolling our state highway systems, so they are able to spot the potholes,"
Bertola added Caltrans relies heavily on the public to let them know where potholes have formed.
"Drivers are able to go onto our website," said Bertola. "It's called a customer service request and they can fill in their information and also let us know where a pothole is. That information goes to the area supervisor and the crew goes out to repair it, so the process is pretty quick from the time of reporting to us actually repairing it. It's a really seamless quick "
She added that favorable weather on Tuesday and over the next several forecasted days will help with maintenance crews filling in as many holes as possible.
“Now that the weather has cleared and we're seeing sunnier conditions, we do have our maintenance crews out and about looking at the roadways, just making sure we have smooth driving conditions," said Bertola. “We do have our crews making those pothole repairs and the pothole repairs are pretty quick. It takes anywhere between three and five minutes to actually fill in a pothole.”
As for non-Caltrans maintained roadways, Bertola said repairs made on those are the responsibility of the city, county or other jurisdiction that they are located in.
To submit a Customer Service Request to report a pothole or any other road concern or hazard, click here for the Caltrans website.