Rapid City’s Public Works Department launches “Report a Problem” link for more monitoring on street-related issues

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The City of Rapid City Public Works Department has launched a new link on their website called “Report a Problem,” which lets people report road or street-related issues. In 2022 more than 450 calls were made to the city reporting street light outages or malfunctions, and over 3,000 potholes were repaired.

This is the first time that they have an online form option, but people can still call in if they’d prefer at 605-394-4118.

What is this link for?

“So we’ve created an online forum to make it easier for citizens to make us aware of where they have identified a problem with street or traffic system. so things like potholes, street lights that are out, a yield sign that got knocked over,” Shannon Truax, Public Works executive coordinator for the City of Rapid City, said. “It’s an easy way for them to just hop online, send us the information, let us know there’s a problem so that we can go out and fix it.”

Would you like to see reports increase or decrease?

“I would like to see them increase. It would be really nice if we created a network in the community where as soon as a street light went out, somebody lets us know,” Truax said. “Because sometimes we’ll get a phone call and people will tell us, ‘Oh, well, the street light’s been out for weeks,’ because we don’t know that it’s out. So it would be great if it goes up and we can be more responsive and get these problems resolved even faster. Telling us that there’s a pothole while it’s little makes it much easier to repair than if we wait until the street has failed because we just weren’t aware that there was an issue.”

Photos of the city crew filling potholes:

How many potholes were fixed because of reports?

“I don’t know the exact number that were fixed because of reports,” Truax said. “A lot of times what will happen is somebody would call and they’ll go, ‘Well, there’s a pothole on my street.’ And I’d be like, ‘Okay, great, where do you live?’ And they’ll say, ‘Oh, well, I live off Adams.’ So I’ll send a crew and they’ll find one and then a block down they’re like, ‘Oh, well, here’s another one,’ and they’ll fill that one too. So a lot of times, even if you can just point us in the right general direction, we can go take care of two or three problems.”

Will the online form be more convenient to report issues?

“That’s a matter of preference. We have people who absolutely love to call us and we’re always happy to talk to them,” Truax said. “But we do find that a lot of people– they really just want that convenience of being able to jump online, share the information. They don’t have to figure out which number to press to talk to a person. It’s going to be the wrong person and get transferred. Or it’s very simple. You you click the link, you fill out the form, you hit submit.”

How will the form be checked?

“So the form is monitored during all regular business hours. So, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, somebody is watching for those to come in,” Truax said. “So it is quite possible that if you send us a request at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, we might have a crew in your street fixing a pothole or putting a sign back up by 2 p.m. They’re not monitored over the weekend, so we would discourage you from using this to report anything that was emergent in nature. But we keep a close eye on it and try and get it dispatched as quickly as possible, at the very latest, by the next business day.”

How will this system be beneficial now and for years to come?

“You know, I think that this is a very small step in the direction of modernizing some of the services that we have, getting our services more accessible to people and making it easier to communicate with the city and provide feedback. So I think this is just step one and it’s part of a plan that we want to keep moving forward with the city,” Truax said. “As the city grows, we want to grow and we want to improve our services too. And these are some simple tools we can use to do that.”

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