NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Department of Transportation crews were out in force this week, repairing hundreds of potholes that have popped up all over the city.
As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, crews Friday night were tackling some of the potholes eating up the roads.
DOT trucks rolled onto the battered Belt Parkway late Friday night, including one that removes chunks of the road like a giant vacuum cleaner.
The DOT also said it filled 1,100 potholes Thursday, focusing on a two-mile stretch of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. The swings in temperature have carved out craters in roads across the Tri-State area.
“It is absolutely the worst I remember seeing in terms of potholes,” said Robert Sinclair with AAA New York.
Amid the pothole crisis, some drivers have resorted to dangerous measures. On the Cross County Parkway in Westchester County, some drivers were seen reversing down an on-ramp to escape a traffic backup caused by potholes on the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Henry Hudson Parkway.
CBS 2’s Dave Carlin bumped along in Mobile 2 Friday night, along a scarred section of the Belt Parkway between Knapp Street and Flatbush Avenue. Even from Chopper 2, the expressway looked like the surface of the moon with so many craters.
A weekend of emergency roadwork started just a few hours too late for Dayanara Niño.
“There was a huge pothole there, and the car just went in,” Niño said. “It blew out right away.”
She was just one of four pothole victims in this same place at the same time.
“It’s one thing if it’s one person, but there’s one, two, three, four people pulled over for the same situation. It’s out of control,” said Vincent Johnson. “They have some explaining to do.”
“Just a big boom that’s it the tire started just flat,” said Briana Gallo.
Gallo and Johnson were heading to a funeral when the front passenger side tire blew out.
“The one that popped my tire – I didn’t even see it,” said Johnson, of Willowbrook, Staten Island.
Earlier in the day at one auto repair shop in the Fordham section of the Bronx, the cars were breaking down and the drivers were lining up.
“I hit a pothole about a block over, but there’s potholes everywhere,” said Johannie Garcia. “If you go two blocks, it’s horrible.”
Garcia’s car took a pounding in potholes on the Bronx River Parkway, and her tire was a casualty.
“I’m sick and tired of this,” she said. “They need to fix the streets.”
And Garcia is not alone. Rayshaum House was also stuck, and was so fed up that he was ready to get out of town.
“It’s very aggravating. I don’t want to keep driving. Forget that,” House said. “I’m moving to Florida. Forget it. They ain’t got no potholes in Florida. And I pay my taxes. I want good roads.”
Meanwhile on the Belt Parkway, despite the repairs the DOT made overnight Thursday into Friday, many in the area said the whole highway is hurting.
“Every 10 minutes, someone comes in and they want a tow truck, and we have to call a tow truck. They park here, they change their tires,” said Darren Sookran. “It’s horrible. The roads are horrible.”
There were a number of drivers on the Belt Parkway who had to pull over to change a tire, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
“It’s probably been one of the worst years ever,” Stephen O’Halloran of Babylon told Jiang.
“So many of them, you can’t avoid them. They’re just everywhere, every lane. Left, right, sidewalk, it’s just everywhere. You can’t avoid it,” driver Remi Adeyemi from Long Island added.
Drivers on the Belt say there’s a “crater crisis” causing chaos, as people swerve to avoid contact.
“They’re driving like maniacs,” a driver told Jiang.
“They’re terrible, they need to fix it. It’s getting really bad,” Krizia Pugliese, who was pulled over with a flat tire, added.
In Manhattan, 56th Street off the West Side Highway is a mess and Tenth Avenue near West 26th Street is now home to several large potholes, keeping pedestrians and drivers on their toes.
“It’s very scary,” said Arkell Cox of Brooklyn. “Unfortunately in traffic, you pretty much can’t swerve. You’re going either going to hit a car or the pothole. There’s no choice.”
Some cabbies complained about the timing of the pothole repairs.
“When the rush hour comes, they’re gonna bust it out and work on potholes on Fifth Avenue, Sixth Avenue,” a cabbie named Jack told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.
And in Hudson County, N.J., four road crews were fixing more than 100 potholes a day – a tiring job with no end in sight.
“This is a temporary patch that could last a couple weeks, and we’ll be back out again,” said supervisor Wally Wolf.
Vittorio Principe of Little Italy Auto Repair in the Bronx emphasized how dangerous potholes can be.
“You may have a blowout or a possible blowout, or actually lose control of the vehicle altogether,” he said.
But Principe said there is a strategy to facing down potholes – sort of.
“If you’re going to take the pothole, try to judge it, where you know – brace yourself, because you are going to hit it no matter what,” he said. “But try to take it an angle where you won’t feel the full force of the shot.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he too has experienced the bump and grind of city potholes, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“It’s something we’ve actually been talking about internally – how do we improve the response to potholes and how do we make it as lasting as it can be in a really tough circumstance,” the mayor said.
De Blasio said there is a big hole in the budget because state and federal money is running short.
Already this year, the DOT has worked on more than 61,000 potholes across the city and will continue to make repairs on the Belt Parkway Friday night.
Two of three westbound lanes on the parkway between Knapp Street and Flatbush Avenue are closed through 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
During that time, eastbound drivers can use Exit 9A towards Knapp Street and Sheepshead Bay while westbound drivers can use Exit 11N for northbound Flatbush Avenue or 11S for southbound Flatbush Avenue and the Rockaways.
The DOT also announced Friday that the city will send out 50 crews – the most this year so far – to fill potholes on both side streets and arterial roadways on Saturday. Another 15 crews will be out filling potholes on Sunday.
Additional work is also planned on the Belt Parkway, as well as the Bronx River Parkway and other critical roadways around the city.
“I want to thank the men and women on DOT’s roadway crews who are working around the clock to maintain the 6,000 miles of city streets during this harsh winter,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a news release. “These tireless public servants have already repaired 64,000 potholes across the boroughs this year – a record-setting pace – and will be filling many more given the snowstorms the City has already faced this winter and the wear and tear that inflicts. Our hard-working crews will be on the job throughout the city every day.”
Beginning Monday, up to four specialized crews will also undertake repairs on several roads – including the southbound Sheridan Expressway service road between Westchester Avenue and Freeman Street, and Exterior Street between 138th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx; 37th Street between 14th and 15th avenues and 52nd Street between 16th and 17th avenues in Brooklyn; the eastbound Long Island Expressway service road between Little Neck Parkway and the city limits at 149th Street and 27th Avenue in Queens; and South Avenue between Chelsea Road and Meredith Avenue, Amboy Road between Page Avenue and Bedell Street, and Richmond Terrace between Broadway and Van Street on Staten Island.
Resurfacing projects are also planned for the northbound Bronx River Parkway between the Cross-Bronx Expressway and Sagamore Street on Sunday, and on the eastbound Belt Parkway between the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Bay 8th Street on Monday. Both projects will require lane closures.
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