ATLANTA—Despite a tracking system that alerts city leaders when metal plates linger on the streets of Atlanta, dozens of them remain for months and months.
A look at the city’s own metal plate tracker revealed a day with 51 metal plates on Atlanta streets for more than a month. Some have been there since last fall.
On Wade Street in southwest Atlanta, Henry Schwimmer moves into his new home. Among his new neighbors is a metal plate that moved onto Wade Street last November.
“I’ve driven across it twenty or thirty times now,” says Schwimmer. “It definitely rattles your car and I know it puts a lot more wear and tear on your car.”
A bright red square on the city’s metal plate map indicates crews with the department of Watershed Management were supposed to remove the plate on Wade Street last December.
“We’re aware that they’re there,” says Keith Toomer, Atlanta’s Geographic Information Officer. “In the past, that was part of the issue that we didn’t know.
The city developed the tracking system after multiple complaints about plates, flats, and damaged vehicles. Each red square on this map indicates a plate that’s been in place over a month, and comes with an alert telling supervisors it’s time for the plate to go.
“We’ve actually removed 190 plates that have been placed in the six months since the application has been in use,” says Toomer.
The issue now is a backlog of road repairs that need to happen before crews can remove many of the plates. City leaders say their crews are stretched thin with street projects, and growth that has placed added strain on the water and sewer system.
“We’re doing our best,” says Maher Abed of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management. “We have a lot of initiatives in place to address that backlog.”
In fact, with the help of contractors, city crews have cut that backlog in half over the past three months.
That still leaves work and metal plates lingering in a lot of places, like Wade Street.
To view the city's metal plate tracker, click here.
Atlanta is now notifying the GPS app WAZE of the location of plates so that drivers are aware.