Polish roads have the unfortunate reputation for being notoriously potholed, and Krakow is certainly no exception. Now, the city is tackling this widespread problem in a novel way: it is selling it off. Specifically, the city will sell individual potholes, which will then be patched with the donor’s name by the city transportation board.
This original approach to road work comes from the German town of Niederzimmern. The city was faced with a lack of funds for fixing the existing roads, so city officials began to sell individual potholes in an attempt to spare the treasury. Each filled pothole was accompanied by a sign stating the name of the individual or company whose funds allowed the restoration of that part of the road. The programme was such a hit that there were even several buyers from outside of Germany.
The Krakow Board of Municipal Infrastructure and Transport (ZIKiT) hopes to replicate the German scheme here. Interested citizens or companies will be able to make an untaxed donation by phone, post, or in person at the ZIKiT office by describing the location of the pothole they would like to fix. Once money has changed hands, workers will arrive on the scene, fix the hole, and construct an optional placard with the donor’s name. In addition, the donor will receive a certificate of “pothole ownership”.
And how much will your own patched piece of Cracovian road cost you? Most holes sized at about one square metre or less will start at 270 złoty. Larger holes will cost considerably more.
Local officials hope the scheme will provide for the repair of holes on smaller roads, which are not a priority of ZIKiT. Repairs on major roads are already provided for within the city’s budget.