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First the Snow, Cold…Now the Potholes

 

By JOSEPH SAPIA

In this winter of endless plowable snowfalls and daily high temperatures that are quite low, the weather has been a major discussion topic.

So, too, another major topic has been a result of the weather: potholes, basically caused by moisture in the pavement of roadways freezing and thawing.

“This year is taking a toll on the roads, no doubt,” said Rich Bianchi, operating supervisor in Bradley Beach’s public works department, adding there is other damage, such as that caused by snowplows hitting curbs.

“We’re seeing more potholes than normal,” said John W. Tobia, director of the Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering.

This year, the county has recorded 2,569 potholes in its jurisdiction that needed maintenance in January and February, or 600 more than during the same period last year, Tobia said. The repair of these potholes has cost $99,497.

“Our roads are weather-worn,” said Tinton Falls Mayor Gerald Turning. “We’re probably talking about 500 (potholes over the winter).”

On Bradley Beach’s 27 miles of municipal roads, more potholes are expected on the south end of town, Bianchi said.

“We’ve got a lot of older roads on the southern end of town,” Bianchi said.

In Bradley Beach, as in other jurisdictions, roadways are repaved in cycles. So, roadways that have not been repaved in the last 10 or 15 years are more susceptible to developing potholes, Biachi said.

“As the roads get older, it (water) just seeps into them a bit easier,” said Gerrit DeVos, Neptune City’s public works director.

In Neptune City, with 12 miles of municipal roadways, “we’ve paved every road in the last 10 years,” said Borough Administrator-Clerk Mary E. Sapp. In turn, Neptune City is not having a big problem with potholes.

Also, Neptune City tries to “address them as quickly as we can,” Sapp said.

Fixing potholes is more complicated than simply filling in the hole.

“Cold patch” material is easily accessible and easier to use, but it is only a temporary fix.

“These cold patches last maybe a day,” Turning said. “You’re just fooling yourself.”

The county prefers, according to Tobia, a more permanent fix. The more permanent fix is similar to filling a cavity — cutting out the bad material, getting to a solid base, heating away moisture and properly filling the hole, Tobia said.

The problem with a permanent fix is that it requires more elaborate equipment or access to hot asphalt during a time of year when asphalt plants normally are not operating. In recent days, Tinton Falls has been getting hot asphalt from the Middlesex County plant, Turning said.

What about motorists who damage vehicles in potholes?

The jurisdiction whose job it is to maintain the roadway could be responsible, Bianchi said.

“We (in Neptune City) haven’t had any claims (for potholes against the borough),” Sapp said.

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