Street and Bridge Maintenance Branch

Walter Hambrick, Assistant Director

The Street and Bridge Maintenance Branch (SBMB) maintains and ensures daily operation of the City of Houston street network which includes

  • 5,700 centerline miles (16,000 lane miles) of paved roadway
  • 1,382 bridges

SBMB works hard every day to respond to customer requests, deliver proactive cost-effective services, plan for future street infrastructure needs, and provide routine street sweeping and right-of-way mowing.

SBMB responds to public reported potholes by next business day and proactively fills over 50,000 potholes per year.  A pothole within the City of Houston is generally considered to be a road defect less than 25 square feet.

  • SBMB encourages you to Contact 311 for your pavement questions or to report a pothole or other pavement problems.

Four Branch Sections carry out necessary core services to provide a street network with a smooth riding surface free of obstacles and debris.

The Street Maintenance Section

The Street Maintenance Section handles several programs to keep city streets in good and safe repair for drivers.  These programs include:

  • Pothole Repair—Smaller potholes are filled using a one-man pothole patch truck; larger potholes, up to 25 square feet, are filled by a three person crew using an asphalt patch truck and small compactor.
  • Patching—Asphalt repairs larger than potholes and smaller than a typical overlay project.  The process for patching may vary in type, and may be performed by a City seven man crew or a contractor as needed.
  • Street Sealing—A thin asphalt surface treatment used to waterproof and improve the wearing surface texture of pavement.  Sealing a street is much like putting a fresh coat of paint on the wood siding of a house to
    protect and preserve the wood.
  • Overlay—The resurfacing of a street that uses two crews:  first crew for milling (or grinding) off the old asphalt surface and a second crew for placing the new asphalt surface.  The process normally takes several days per street.  The City plans overlay projects by neighborhood (Overlay Map), not individual streets, for maximum efficiency; this leaves the neighborhood with a uniform overall appearance.  Overlay is not intended to solve drainage problems or eliminate water ponding issues.  The goal of Overlay is to extend the life of the pavement and provide a smooth riding surface.
    This treatment is expected to provide a minimum life of five years, while some overlay can last 20 years.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pothole Filling 

Routine Maintenance Section

The Routine Maintenance Section provides several routine services such as street sweeping and mowing, debris removal, and weed control within the City's rights-of-way.  This section also performs concrete panel replacements for a more long term solution to potholes in concrete streets. 

  • Concrete Panel Repair—The most expensive repair method and requires the most time for the repair.  Even a small concrete repair can take up to a week to complete.   SBMB maintains a list of identified areas for concrete repair and performs the repairs as funding allows.  Asphalt can also be used to make a wide variety of repairs on concrete streets with good results at a significantly lower cost.
  • Street Sweeping—Performed in the downtown sector of Houston weekly and four times a year on major thoroughfares throughout the city.  Sweeping Map - GIMS Internet Explorer only
  • Right-of-Way mowing is conducted once per year; locations and approximate mowing months are identified in the map legend. Mowing Map - GIMS Internet Explorer only
Bridge Maintenance Section

The Bridge Maintenance Section is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the City's bridges as required by federal regulations.  In addition, this section recommends replacement or reconstruction of bridges where traffic levels may have exceeded the original design or bridge condition may impact the section goal of keeping bridges in a safe operating condition for the public. 

Street Asset Management Section

The Street Asset Management Section has the responsibility to ensure the Houston streets are regularly rated for pavement condition and overall ride quality, and recommend appropriate treatments based on those ratings.  This Section manages the Street Surface Assessment Vehicle and the Pavement Management Information System, a software program that allows the engineers to analyze the street network and plan for future treatments. 

Visit our Street Surface Assessment Vehicle page to learn how street assessments are performed and view the current street assessment.