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City Filled More Than 158,000 Potholes Since December, Officials Say

By Katie Honan | March 17, 2015 1:37pm
 The city filled more than 158,000 potholes between December and March, officials said.
The city filled more than 158,000 potholes between December and March, officials said.
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NEW YORK CITY — The brutal winter has wreaked havoc on city roads, with crews filling more than 158,000 potholes and even more expected during the final days of the season, officials said.

The roads were so bad that they lead one expert to compare part of the Grand Central Parkway near Citi Field to a "moonscape" with its gray rubble-strewn craters.

"It probably has to do with the weather and the really frigid temperatures we've had. Potholes form because of freeze-thaw cycles," said Robert Sinclair Jr., a spokesman for AAA.

"We had such low, low temperatures on a nearly consistent basis."


There were 77 below-freezing days between Dec. 1 and March 10, which is more than 10 above the average, according to the National Weather Service.

By this time last year, the city repaired more than 200,000 potholes, according to The Daily Pothole, the DOT’s digest of road repairs. They filled a total of 497,000 in 2014.

DOT officials anticipate a “late-winter uptick” in the number of potholes as temperatures rise snow and ice melts to reveal them. 

Between March 9 and March 15, crews repaired more than 30,000 potholes.

Queens needed the most work this winter season, with 50,882 potholes filled from Dec. 15 to March 9, according to the Department of Transportation.

Brooklyn had 39,773 pothole fixes, The Bronx had 27,885 potholes repaired and Manhattan had 21,635 during the same time period, DOT statistics show.

Staten Island had the least number of potholes filled, with only 18,377 through the winter, officials said.

The borough's president James Oddo has asked the DOT to do more to fix Staten Island's roads by resurfacing them.

"Simply filling potholes without dramatically increasing the number of lane miles resurfaced is a temporary fix and does not solve the underlying problem," Oddo said.

Road experts agreed that pothole fixes are only stopgaps until roads are fully improved.

“When you start off with lousy pavement conditions in the first place and you add all the rain, snow and ice and wear and tear — it just makes it worse,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair expected to see potholes this season on roads that allow trucks, because they're the usual culprits, he said.

Last year, the major pothole problems were concentrated to expressways that allow trucks, including the Gowanus, Major Deegan and Brooklyn-Queens expressways, Sinclair said.   

But he was surprised this winter when potholes appeared on other roadways too.

“I'm seeing a lot of these chewed up roads on roads that restrict access to trucks, mainly the Grand Central Parkway,” he said.

Crews were there last week filling in the potholes, which are often the length of a car. The parkway had multiple potholes between LaGuardia Airport and the Queens Museum, often forcing drivers to slow traffic just to try to drive around them. 

The DOT has "vigorously" addressed potholes over the winter with about 2,500 crews, primarily working during weekends, an agency official said.