January 8, 2019

LICA-Constuction-Grace-Rte-231-at-Northern-State-Pkway-12-20-18-(19)-(002).pngLICA Comments on LI Pothole Problem

Last weekend, the cover of Newsday focused once again on the ongoing pothole problem on Long Island. With a new study showing that the average Long Islander spends nearly $719 in car repair costs due to potholes and rough roads, the annual conversation about road repair, maintenance and money was front page news. The Newsday article, in which LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst was quoted, described how some of the local municipalities are trying to address the situation. Some Towns take a short-term patchwork approach, sending out their own small crews with asphalt and shovels in hand, or by using “Pothole Killer” trucks which clean out, coat and fill potholes without the need for workers to step outside the truck. Although the Pothole Killer concept is a good one, as it aims to save money by eliminating the extra time and costs of  related safety measures which are required when humans do repairs on active roadways, in practicality, it is at best a very temporary fix and at worse, a dangerous and insufficient solution. The automated machine does not compact the new asphalt into the holes it fills (think of an ice cream cone pumping in new materials) – so it relies on cars and trucks to complete the compaction task, often resulting in partial, uneven or improperly filled potholes, which can create a new hazardous condition, sometimes worse than the original pothole.

Other Towns such as Islip take a more long-term approach, recognizing the need to perform regularly scheduled maintenance by repaving as many roads as possible in the spring and summer to help prevent potholes each winter. In the Town of Hempstead, Supervisor Laura Gillen understands the need to provide sufficient resources  for infrastructure investment to ensure the Town can continue to properly maintain and improve critical road and transportation assets. This year, her road resurfacing budget is nearly 4X more than was allotted in 2017.

In the article, Herbst spoke about some state and federal funding which is provided through programs like CHIPS, however data shows those funding levels have remained relatively flat for the last several years, including slight dips last year for Nassau and Suffolk counties. For more on this story, read the complete article here.

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