Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Slay The Pothole Vortex

As the weather’s temperature drops to create new cold records, and weather people suddenly began teaching us about the Polar Vortex, a by-product of this cold is witnessing divots in our roadways expanding faster than crews can keep up with their growth. It’s almost like some science fiction movie where the film shows an accelerated growth of the pod that begins killing humans. Only this time the pod growth is the divot that grows in size to become a tank trap. It’s controlled by the Pothole Vortex.

Potholes are not a new phenomenon here in the northeast. But fixing them in a timely fashion, is. In the midwest, where many roadways are still made of concrete, the threat and realization of chips in the concrete growing exponentially larger each day is not common. Road crews respond quickly to keep their roadways in check. Concrete has a stronger tensile strength than its cheaper cousin, macadam/blacktop/asphalt. Plus, concrete is a much more cohesive product that does not break apart as easily as blacktop. Nor do you have “black ice” with it.

The first macadam surface in the United States was laid on the “Boonsborough Turnpike Road” between Hagerstown and Boonsboro, Maryland. Construction specifications for the turnpike road incorporated those set forth by John Loudon McAdam of Scotland. Early roads in the United States had been simple ruts carved into the ground by the many horses and wagons that traversed our great land. Travel was brutal at best, add to that any inclement weather conditions and you get the sloppy picture. Cobblestones were common from late medieval times into the 19th century.

In 1876, President Grant selected a group of army engineers to study the use of asphalt on roads. This group suggested that Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., be paved with sheet asphalt made from Trinidad Lake asphalt. That pavement remained in excellent condition for 11 years, despite the traffic at the White House. But, as with most politicians, Grant did nothing about maintenance. Because the traffic was literally lighter, potholes such as the ones we experience today were unheard of.

Coming down (eastbound) Old Tarrytown Road from Hillside Avenue will present you with the Mothra of epic potholes. It started as they often do, with a small crack and then a growing hole on the right-hand side of the road with a small road cone adjacent to it. As it expanded in size, presumably someone from the Town placed one of those large orange highway construction traffic cones in it. It’s the size of a large trash can with the black rubber ring on its base. That quickly fell over and into the hole, as the hole grew under its own power. This was the work of the Pothole Vortex, with a self-generating and uncontrollable appetite for growth! The “cone” lying on its side, was slowly being sucked into the earth, a la the China Syndrome. The unfortunate motorist driving in that direction, possibly on a cell phone, adjusting their radio, or simply aiming by rote, would be abruptly shocked when they hit this hole. Their car’s entire front end will fall into this and depending on their speed may make a tremendously loud bang, waking residents like a car hitting a bridge!

In short time, the Pothole Vortex gained strength, gorging and expanding its tentacles throughout our roadways. The Pothole Vortex required any drivers on the road to participate in some very creative maneuvers. Viewing traffic from above might resemble bugs flying around a lightbulb on a summer’s eve. This is making for some very unsafe driving conditions as motorists are swerving in all directions to avoid the bone-shaking, teeth-rattling dips and bangs with their cars. We’re sure there are other locations suffering from the Pothole Vortex. 

We realize the Towns and Villages are doing what they can to keep up with these traffic hazards. We also realize that NYS roadways going through our communities are largely ignored by our state government. Why isn’t Mr Feiner on the phone with Governor Cuomo and Assemblyman Abinanti and Senator Stewart-Cousins demanding repairs? Governor Cuomo has presidential aspirations, and says we should lower taxes, build a bridge and so on. He needs to do one more thing. We need the governor to tell the state road crews to get out there and patch our roads while our record-setting taxes are still being collected. What are we getting in return? They should be fighting this Pothole Vortex monster and making repairs 24-7 – around the clock! In fact, nighttime repairs make the most sense as the crews can work unimpeded due to less traffic, a safer environment for the crews as well as making morning commutes less harrowing as drivers won’t be slamming on their brakes each time the approach or hit a pothole. 

Mr Feiner, the Problem Solver, who won’t hesitate to redirect our road crews from a Town project to fill a pothole or trim a bush in some constituents neighborhood in search of a vote, needs to work with Commissioner Carosi and allow the Town crews to do what they do best. These road conditions are unsafe, ruin our already degrading and ignored infrastructure, and make for more work for our employees. We applaud the job Mr Carosi has been doing. We just need Mr Feiner to stay out of his way so he can help the taxpayers and slay the Pothole Vortex in Greenburgh. Only then will we see A Better Greenburgh.

1 comment:

  1. the potholes on Sprain Rd. outside Boulder Ridge were being filled this past Saturday afternoon.