Battling those potholes

Winter weather has hit local roads — and vehicles — hard


Multiple snowstorms and freeze-and-thaw cycles have combined to create potholes on local roadways ranging from baseball-sized to small craters that can cause vehicular damage, forcing motorists to weave around them to avoid trouble.

Cedarhurst resident Mark Frank, who has lived in his Locust Avenue home for seven years, said he doesn’t like seeing the potholes on his street, and there wasn’t much of a problem with them until this winter. “Now we have to drive like this,” he said, turning an imaginary steering wheel back and forth to demonstrate how he avoids the holes in the road.

Temperate weather last week gave Five Towns villages and the Town of Hempstead the chance to begin filling potholes.

Mayor Andrew Parise said that Cedarhurst officials targeted the hardest-hit of the village’s 18 miles of roadways for repair, which includes Locust and Pearsall avenues, parts of Cedarhurst Avenue and Rugby and Marlborough roads.

“When you have this kind of weather, people don’t want to hear about waiting,” Parise said of last week’s warmer temperatures. “When they say, ‘There’s a pothole in front of my house,’ you have to forget about budgets. Clearing snow or filling potholes, it’s in everybody’s budget.”

Obtaining the asphalt needed for repairs is easy, but keeping it hot enough to use is difficult, Parise said, because the closest plant, in Lawrence, is closed for the winter. The village is getting its 3- or 4-ton loads from Rason Asphalt, in Melville.

James Haney, Rason’s manager, said the plant is producing 150 tons of asphalt per day for state and county departments of transportation, the three Nassau towns and several villages. “We are definitely much busier now compared to last year,” Haney said.

Atlantic Beach Mayor Stephen Mahler said that filling potholes is one of a village’s “chief occupations.” “We probably get more letters from residents about [potholes] than anything,” he said. “It’s just endemic to village government.”

The 1-square-mile village is repairing potholes now with temporary filling, and will do more permanent work when the winter ends, Mahler said.

With their local asphalt plant closed, Lawrence village officials said they are using temporary fill for the potholes on the village’s 127 streets, and have similar plans to permanently repair them in the spring, when the plant reopens.

Throughout the Town of Hempstead, which includes the hamlets of Hewlett, Inwood, Woodmere and North Woodmere, potholes are being repaired. The town has received more than 600 calls about them so far this year, officials said, and town workers are repairing any they find on the way to and from those that residents call to complain about.

“We’re declaring war on potholes,” Town Supervisor Kate Murray said as she and Councilman Gary Hudes filled a pothole in North Merrick on Monday. “By adding crews and equipment to fortify the work of town highway crews, we’ll be able to fill more potholes in a shorter period of time,” she added. At least 30 trucks will be assigned to pothole repair, a dozen more than usual. The town budgets $600,000 annually for asphalt. Last year it spent $577,746. As of Feb. 24, $100,000 has been spent and 225 tons of asphalt used, officials said.

To report a pothole in the town, call its Department of Highways at (516) 812-3471. For a county road, call (516) 571-6900, and for a state road, call (800)-POTHOLE (768-4653).

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