Ever wonder how to take care of eyesores in your neighborhood? In North Carolina, getting public maintenance issues handled may be easier than you think, and under President Biden’s plan, better funded than ever before.
Potholes in (front of) your lawn? Streetlights out? Or do you need a sidewalk added to a busy street in your neighborhood? These are all issues that can be remedied by calling North Carolina’s one-stop maintenance hotline, 877-DOT-4YOU (877-368-4968), or going to the state portal at www.NCDOT.gov and leaving a message via the contact button on the top right.
- To clearly spell out the problem. Is it debris removal? Overgrown shrubbery? A pothole? Or a nonfunctioning streetlight?
- The location of the issue, either an address or cross street
- To leave your contact information and to note the tracking number you receive
The email or message will be routed to the appropriate office, depending on the issue. The location also matters, as it helps the router determine if it’s a state or local municipality (city or county) issue to handle. For example, the state would repair a nonfunctioning streetlamp on a highway, the city or county would for a light on a city or county-maintained road, and Duke Energy or another utility handles certain streetlights. Once the location and jurisdiction is determined, the request gets forwarded to the appropriate maintenance office.
If the light, pothole, litter problem, or overgrown greenery is on a state-maintained road or sidewalk, the NC Department of Transportation will take action. NCDOT has two business days to respond to every request, but that is only the first step. You will be notified that the request is moving into the pipeline.
An investigation comes next, with an engineer or other expert coming out to determine if the issue is an immediate safety concern as opposed to a cosmetic issue that can be assigned a lower priority. The pothole will also be checked to see if it’s already covered under a wider resurfacing contract that is active. These multi-million dollar contracts can cover repairs to dozens of county roads in a year.
President Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan earmarks $621 billion for building and repairing infrastructure, such as roads and interstates. Gov. Roy Cooper has praised the act, which he said would help transform North Carolina.
You can call the 877 number with the tracking number to check on the progress of the request. Once the request ticket is closed, you will get a confirmation email or phone call.
“Litter is a huge issue,” Jan Thompson, NCDOT public information officer, told Cardinal & Pine. “The DOT had a number of challenges last year because of COVID. We cut back on mowing and litter cycles last year because our funding was reduced.”
According to Thompson, North Carolina is second in the nation for littering, trailing only Texas. The problem appears to be getting worse. State road litter sweeps are conducted on a rotating cycle, with crews passing over the main thoroughfares roughly every 5-6 weeks. Since January, crews have picked up over 7 million tons of trash. For context, in 2019 crews picked up 10 million pounds for the whole year.
Thompson encouraged residents to report dumping or littered areas and to get involved in the Adopt a Highway program, where organizations can apply through the county district to adopt a section of roadway and clean it up four times a year.
“We provide the trash bags, safety vests, and gloves and once you’re done, give us a call and maintenance folks will come haul off the trash,” she said. “We have a lot of ground to cover so there can be a possibility we haven’t yet seen a problem.The public is another set of eyes for us, so if there’s an issue, please contact us.”