Identifying potholes and sinkholes in San Diego

If you see a hole in the road, what are you looking at?

Utilities working filling a pothole on a San Diego street

San Diego is trying to smooth things over.

Photo via @CityofSanDiego

San Diego County has received more rain so far in 2023 than in all of 2022. This record-breaking rainfall has brought an increase in reports of sinkholes — like one on state Route 78 in Oceanside and another in El Cajon.

Sinkholes are different than potholes because they’re closed, natural depressions with no natural drainage. Often, rain saturates soil, allowing grounds to shift. This can cause infrastructure to break, and sometimes, nearby land is impacted by the movement resulting in larger areas of damage.

Meanwhile, potholes often have more defined edges because they’re in concrete. In San Diego, they often occur when water gets beneath pavement and softens it. Then the weight of cars force it to crack.

If you encounter a sinkhole, report it to the Department of Public Works or to Get It Done. Potholes can also be reported to Get It Done or (619) 527-7500.

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