RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Potholes have been causing major problems for drivers on roads around the Tri-State area, following round after round of snow, sleet and other severe weather.
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported Wednesday, the roadways have been repeatedly battered and beaten by old man winter, and the evidence is everywhere.
Along 28th Street between Tenth and Eleventh avenues in Chelsea, potholes masked by puddles in ice give motorists the sense of off-roading in the heart of the city.
Farther north, the exit ramp onto 96th Street from the Henry Hudson Parkway gave Mobile 2 a good bounce too. Drivers there talked about the cracking, crumbling, and sometimes cavernous blacktop.
“Horrible,” said motorist John Forsberg. “Horrible.”
“Southbound between 128th and 96th Street, there must have been about seven of them,” said Bob Lagana of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Lagana said our roads boast the biggest array of potholes he’s seen in 10 years.
“I swerve; you know, I’ve been swerving. I almost hit a car coming down the center lane, because I had to, you know,” he said.
He was lucky, unlike commuters traveling Interstate 95 northbound in Leonia, New Jersey approaching the George Washington Bridge Wednesday morning.
“I wouldn’t even call it a pothole,” said Ty Redmond. “I’d call it a crater.”
New Jersey State police say several cars were damaged when they struck that pothole. Redmond said he had driven the same way on Tuesday, and the crater had grown enormous a day later.
“Instantly, my low tire pressure light went on and I had a flat and had to pull over,” Redmond said. “It’s ridiculous.”
The pothole, which was about 3-feet wide, apparently developed around 6 a.m. Wednesday near milemarker 117.4 northbound between Leonia and Ridgefield Park.
David Johnson hit the ditch too, saying he heard “boomp, boomp, boomp, boomp, boomp.”
“By the time I got to the side, I saw about seven other cars in front of me – all on the side,” he said.
Johnson estimated nearly 20 more cars had flats to fix after going over the I-95 pothole.
Troopers were called to the area and were able to slow down traffic there so repair crews could patch the hole. The repair work was completed around 7 a.m.
New Jersey State police spokesman Capt. Stephen Jones said large potholes aren’t out of the ordinary for this time of year.
“What people need to do is just really be aware of it, watch for that happening and leave enough room between you and the car in front of you so if you see them swerving and making evasive maneuvers, you have time to react,” he told 1010 WINS.
But experts said while potholes may be common in the winter, the method used to fix them is a problem.
According to AAA, the average New Yorker spends an extra $673 per year on vehicles to repair damage done by roads. A total of 74 percent of roads in New York City and Newark are either in poor or mediocre condition.
AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr. said a patchwork approach to fixing potholes is the problem.
“We are not doing enough resurfacing of our streets and highways,” Sinclair said. “We’re probably spending about $2 billion less statewide than we should be spending.”
But Sinclair said the roads are not overtreated with salt.
“We treat them as much as necessary given the weather conditions that we face,” he said.
New York City livery cab driver Joseph Hassan knows all too well what’s it’s like to be the victim of a pothole.
“A few big ones, I lost a few tires,” he told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.
Hassan said his car took a beating this season.
“It’s horrible. Not only do you lose a tire but it also destroys the front end of the vehicle,” he said.
The Department of Transportation said it has 70 crews out this week alone and since mid-December they’ve repared 117,000 craters.
Hasann said it’s never fast enough.
“Sometimes I feel like I should carry a bag of asphalt in the trunk and when I see a really bad one, go down and just fill it up,” he said.
But if potholes are his biggest complaint, he’ll take it.
“You know it is what it is, still the best city in the world,” he said.
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