Hennepin County says it didn't know about pothole that gave man concussion [PHOTO]

-- Update at bottom --

A Hennepin County spokesperson tells us officials hadn't heard about an axle-busting south Minneapolis pothole near the intersection of 46th Street and Minnehaha Avenue that concussed a man until Fox 9 put together a story about it for last night's 9 o'clock news.

Workers "didn't know that was there but saw the story," Kayla Bromelkamp, public affairs officer for Hennepin County, says. "They went out there this morning and fixed it immediately."

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Dustin Duarte told Fox the pothole, which he hit while driving westbound on 46th Street just past Minnehaha Avenue, caused the airbags to deploy in the 1994 Geo Metro he purchased last year for $500. The impact sent him to the hospital for facial injuries and a minor concussion.

He certainly looked the worse for wear afterward:
-- Bill Keller (@billkellerfox9) May 1, 2014 "I feel like there should be no driving surfaces in our city where, if you're just driving normally over and not speeding, where your airbags pop off in your face," Duarte told Fox. "I don't want anyone else to get hurt. I don't want money from anyone. I want this issue to be dealt with."

Bromelkamp says the county would like to deal with problem potholes as soon as they can, but they have to be aware of them first. (In case it isn't clear already, 46th Street is a county road.)

"We do take reports through the phone, fax, over the internet, and through our website, and crews will go out and patch those ASAP," she says. (The county's pothole complaint form can be accessed here.)

This spring has been a particularly brutal one for local roads, Bromelkamp adds.

(For more, click to page two.)

"When ice melts the water can get in any crevice in the pavement and can pop those patches right out of potholes," Bromelkamp says. "When it refreezes, it's wet and cold temps that really exacerbates the problem."

Here are some pothole pics sent to us this afternoon: Bromelkamp says Hennepin County has two crews out working to patch potholes full-time Tuesday through Thursday. They both respond to pothole reports and proactively fill potholes they come across on their own.

After hours, a night duty foreman is equipped to provide short-term "cold mix" patches.

Here's a look at what Hennepin County has spent from its general fund on pothole patching in recent years:

Though those totals have fallen consistently in recent years, it sounds like the 2014 pothole patching season might be more akin to 2009 than last year.

:::: UPDATE ::::

A city of Minneapolis communications person got in touch to share this information about how city workers prioritize pothole patches:
Minneapolis Public Works approaches pothole repair strategically. Response times and the type of repairs completed depends upon time of year, weather conditions, resource availability and other factors. Public Works is aware of potholes through repair requests that come through 311 and other reporting tracks, and their own considerable knowledge of street conditions. They work consistently across the City, and will generally prioritize the work in order to deal with the worst problems and streets with greater traffic volumes and higher speeds first, but also with an eye to work in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.
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