The Department of Streets repairs potholes and other damage to Philadelphia’s streets. You can report street defects by calling 311 or using our online form. You’ll be asked to describe the defect, including:
- Its exact location.
- Its size and shape.
- Whether any water or gas is escaping from the defect.
If possible, include pictures of the pothole or street damage with your request. Your description of the street defect can help the City address the problem more quickly.
Types of street defects
Cave-ins are irregular holes in the asphalt. They form when the soil under a street is undermined or washed away, usually by leaks in pipes or around manholes.
This kind of defect happens from the bottom up and penetrates the concrete base of the street. If the problem stems from a plumbing leak, property owners may need to make repairs.
As needed, the Department of Streets may involve other City agencies or outside parties to address the repairs. They may include the Water Department, PGW, PECO, cable utilities, and others.
As streets age, cracks or “spider-webbing” may develop. This is also caused by freeze and thaw cycles in the winter.
The Department of Streets will seal the cracks and plan to repave the street.
A depression is when part of the asphalt is lower than the surrounding street. This can occur when:
- Heavy traffic pushes the asphalt, creating a trough. This often happens where buses stop.
- A cavity forms under the street, which can lead to a cave-in.
If traffic caused the depression, the Department of Streets will remove that section of the street and put down new asphalt.
If a cavity has formed under the street, the Department of Streets will work to resolve that issue first. This may involve other City departments, depending on the source of the problem.
Ditch or trench
Ditches are man-made holes in the street. They are usually square or rectangular with defined edges.
A trench is a type of ditch. Often, they’re dug by a utility company for the placement of pipes or other infrastructure.
Utilities are typically responsible for keeping their ditches safe and restoring the street when their work is complete.
For work by the City, the Department of Streets is responsible for repairing this kind of street damage. From July 1 to Nov. 30, the response time is 45 business days. From Nov. 30 to June 30, the Department of Streets will keep the ditch in safe condition until permanent repairs can be completed.
Potholes are irregular holes in the asphalt. They occur when the surface of the street starts wearing away.
This kind of defect happens from the top down and rarely penetrates the concrete base of the street.
The Department of Streets typically repairs potholes within three business days. If the pothole is within 18 inches of any trolley tracks, SEPTA will be involved in the repairs.
If the pothole is on a state-maintained street, the Department of Streets will inspect it and forward your request to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
A push-up is caused when heavy traffic pushes on the asphalt, forming bumps or mounding. This often happens at bus stops or streets with a lot of truck traffic.
The Department of Streets will remove the affected section of the street and put down new asphalt.