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People driving within the city of Tampa may notice a rather odd-looking van. A 360-degree camera, laser beams hanging off the side — it’s an expensive truck the city hopes will help them cut down on pot holes.

Kimberly Morose hit one just last week.

“I got a flat tire driving out of the neighborhood,” she said.  “It’s just real frustrating, because I had to have my car towed. And it’s just a real pain.”

So far this year, Tampa has filled more than 570 potholes.

Over the next several weeks a contracted van will drive over every bit of 1,500 miles of pavement that the city maintains. Lasers beams and cameras — that can see down to the millimeter — will analyze each roadway.

Danni Jorgenson, and engineer with Tampa’s Transportation and Stormwater Department, says that data will go into a computer program that triages which road should be repaired in what order.
 
“That’s going to help us prioritize where we need to put our funds first,” Jorgenson told FOX 13. 
 
Gathering and compiling the data isn’t cheap — the total cost to contract the van and the study is $533,000 – but she says it will save money in the long haul.

“Doing an automated study like this does save the city quite a bit of money. It helps us leverage our resources more efficiently,” Jorgenson insisted. 

Road surveys are an industry standard for every major U.S. city.  Tampa says the automated van is more cost effective and safer than conducting a “boots on the ground” survey.