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Lawyers confront authorities over pothole problem in ‘Bachelajara’

October 8, 2013

Fed up of driving along roads riddled with potholes, a group of Guadalajara-based lawyers have banded together and are preparing legal action to force the local authorities to carry out adequate road repairs.

The lawyers will bring a collective lawsuit against the Guadalajara and Zapopan municipal governments and the state departments of mobility, infrastructure and public works for negligence in the construction and maintenance of the city’s streets.

The attorneys are not seeking compensation for damages caused by potholes; they simply want a judicial authority to ensure that the authorities properly use their allocated budgets for fixing the road surfaces.

“When I see a pothole I think of an act of corruption because it means that someone did not do things right, i.e. they had a budget, they spent it and it did not work, which also means that they will then spend again,” Roberto Illanes, one of the lawyers involved, told Spanish-language daily Mural.

Legalized in Mexico in February 2012, collective lawsuits enable groups of up to 30 people to jointly sue entities such as companies or government bodies. The lawyers aim to file the lawsuit in December 2013 or January 2014. Aside from taking legal action, they will also ask the public University of Guadalajara and Mexico City’s UNAM to carry out investigations into how best to build roads.

Guadalajara’s road surfaces have become so uneven during the rainy season that some have dubbed the city “Bachelajara” (bache is pothole in Spanish).

Some 27,630 potholes emerged in Zapopan alone last month. The municipal government has pledged to spend 30 million pesos from October 15 on replacing 150,000 square meters of asphalt surfaces with hydraulic concrete along stretches of Avenida Lopez Mateos, Mariano Otero, Servidor Publico, Rio Blanco and Acueducto.

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