Rapid Temperature Shifts Make Potholes A Problem In Rye

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Few things can put a bump in your day like a nasty pothole. Whether they're on the highway, Main Street, or outside your driveway, potholes can cause big problems for motorists.

Motorists try to avoid a pothole on Farragut Ave in Hastings-On-Hudson.

Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

John Albano, manager of Yonkers Auto Shop, said he hasn't seen many cars come in from pothole damage this year, but low-profile tires cause big problems.

"There's less rubber and more wheel, so the wheel bends easier. Newer cars have these big wheels with very little sidewall," he said. "They definitely were not made for the New York area."  

Albano said an average wheel repair runs around $150, though older cars may require repairs up to $600.

Westchester Commissioner of Public Works and Transportation Jay T. Pisco said pothole problems are common across the state right now.

"The county has two crews that are out daily working on potholes on county roads. Between police, municipalities and residents, we have a lot of people sending emails and making phone calls," he said. "So far, I only know of one pothole that has caused any trouble. It made three cars in a row blow out a tire. County vehicles have experienced blown tires on potholes as well."

Some municipalities in Westchester are out each day with crews assigned to fixing potholes to avoid these accidents.

According to White Plains DPW Commissioner Bud Nicoletti, when road material gets warm, it expands and spaces open. Rainfall and snow fall get into the spaces and when the temperature drops, it freezes. The pavement then gets pushed up in spots. Once traffic goes over it, you have the formation of a pothole.

"This weather has been phenomenal in a bad way," Nicoletti said. "To have big swings from 0 to 40 or 50 in one day is a perfect set up for a pothole."

He said his crews took measures in the fall to prevent as many potholes as possible.

"We have a pretty aggressive program we've been doing for many years, which is called crack sealing. It involves filling cracks in the road with a liquid tar asphalt material," he said. "We do that in early fall and try to seal up any splits, alligatoring or cracking in road surface. It helps prevent potholes as much as possible." 

Now, two crews are out in White Plains each day filling potholes.

"We're doing everything we can in White Plains to get rid of potholes as quickly as possible," Nicoletti said.

Kevin Winn, highway commissioner of Bedford, said the freezing cycle this winter is especially problematic.

"We've had temperature fluctuations from 5 degrees to 50 degrees in a day. It's taking a toll on all of the roads," he said.

Winn said the town of Bedford works year-round on pothole repair and prevention.

Have a bad encounter with a pothole? Is Westchester doing enough to combat them? Join the conversation below.



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