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St. Louis' new Street Department director rolls out plan for improving city streets

"Safety is very important, so we will be looking at the safety of the roads for all of our motorists, then we will be looking at damage to our roads"

ST. LOUIS — "All I can say is Grand is horrible," said Monica Jackson.

For years, Jackson said from north to south, Grand Boulevard has been a rough ride for her and many St. Louis drivers.

"My tires have blown out from the potholes. You know I believe they just aren't repairing them," Jackson said Thursday afternoon.

"We know that we have roads that are in bad conditions, but they're still driveable and so we want to make sure that we have prioritized them right," said Betherny Williams.

Williams spent 17 years with the Missouri Department of Transportation. Now, she has shifted into her new position as Director of the St. Louis Street Department.

"My personal goal is during my first 60 days, I will look at the procedures and the culture of the Streets Department," said Williams.

She said her top priorities after that will move toward assessing city roads, making traffic improvements and keeping streets safe.

"Safety is very important, so we will be looking at the safety of the roads for all of our motorists and then we will be looking at damage to our roads," added Williams.

Back on North Grand near Natural Bridge, driver Keshawn Jackson said there's plenty of damage for the new director to see.

"Man, the roads in this area are terrible. Right here, it might be nice, but when you go deeper down the street, it gets worse," said Jackson.

Williams will work with a team that consists of more than 500 people. Williams said they're committed for the long haul.

City drivers just want to see more positive results.

"I will be looking at a number of things including how many complaints have we gotten for a road? When was the road originally paved? What was the life expectancy of that pavement and treatment? How many ruts and potholes have we seen in the pavement, and so, those are different ways we will determine how we move forward," Williams said.

"I'm hoping she can make a difference," said Monica Jackson.

Residents may also call the Citizens' Service Bureau at 314-622-4800.