No, it’s not your imagination. There are a lot of potholes on Verona streets this spring.
The snow and ice sent by Mother Nature and the salt laid down to keep the roads safe for driving have left many streets looking like a lunar landscape. Many, but not all: Newly resurfaced roads like Derwent Avenue came through the winter unscathed. Linden Avenue and Otsego Road, meanwhile, are jarring rides and Forest Avenue seems to split down the middle as if it were along a southern California earthquake fault line.
And yes, the town knows all this. The Department of Public Works keeps a list of spots needing repair and it is more than a page and a quarter long, says DPW Superintendent Chuck Molinaro. Trouble is, while the weather turned warm enough last week to drive all of us a bit nuts, the plants that make the hot asphalt used for permanent road repairs haven’t yet opened for production. So Molinaro and his team must use a so-called winter mix asphalt to patch the potholes that pose the greatest risk to motorists and pedestrians. When the hot asphalt begins to arrive later this month, the winter mix will have to be scraped out and all the problem spots will be redone with the permanent paving.
According to Molinaro, Verona spent $12,000 on asphalt to fix potholes after the winter of 2009. This year is anybody’s guess at the moment, but Verona may get something of a break from the fact that asphalt prices still haven’t returned to their pre-recession highs. The state, by the way, expects to repair more than 150,000 potholes between now and June 30, when its fiscal year ends.
Here’s how the repair work goes in Verona. When DPW gets a pothole complaint by phone (973-857-4804) or e-mail, it logs it on the list. (The number to call for a pothole on a county road is 973-239-3366, ext. 222.) If a crew goes out to patch one deep hole on a street, it checks the entire street for problems and tackles the worst of them at once. When the hot asphalt arrives, Molinaro’s team will put it down, at the rate of about 3 to 6 tons a day.
But your street may still not be the first one fixed. Though priority will be given to the deepest holes, Verona has several entire streets to repave this spring too. The town didn’t complete the repaving of Valhalla Way, Glen Road or the Verona Pool parking lot before the weather turned last fall. Those tasks will have to be factored in, especially the pool lot.
So if you have a pothole that needs fixing, call (973-857-4804) or e-mail [email protected]. “That one comes right to my Blackberry,” says Molinaro. Who knew?