New Britain City Journal

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Pothole Repairs Ongoing

A horrid winter has made fixing potholes a daunting task for the public works department.

“The worse the winter the more difficult it is to permanently repair a pothole,” said Mark Moriarty, public work director. “Five years ago we began an aggressive paving program, because streets like Farmington Avenue and Slater Road had major problems.”

Roads that have recently been paved have fewer potholes than those with problems.

But, repairing potholes between December and April is more difficult than any other time of year.

Hot asphalt is not made until sometime in April, so crews can only do what is called a “cold patch” to potholes.

“On older roads water penetrates into the cracks. When it freezes and then thaws out, potholes form,” said Moriarty. “What we are doing now (with cold patch) is just a band-aid. It will eventually wear out.”

With a cold patch rain can wash away the cold asphalt, that are more like little rocks smashed into the ground, compared to a smooth hot patch asphalt that is poured into the hole.

“We are doing a lot of small streets that have not had paving,” said Paul Wooten, General Foreman of New Britain streets. “So far this year, we have had four truckloads with 18 tons of asphalt each on the roads.”

Roads are being repaired as residents call and complain. Drivers also follow routes such as they would with plowing snow.

“It’s an ongoing battle,” said Wooten. “We try to take care of the bigger ones first.”

“Although it’s bad this year because of the snow the roads have been properly maintained,” said Moriarty. “Twenty-five years ago all the roads had lots of cracking.”

Road crews will be out on the roads repairing cracks throughout the year.

“We are also sweeping roads,” said Moriarty. “Because we don’t use sand for snow, it is not as big a problem as in the past.”

The city is not the only place dealing with potholes.

The General Assembly last week approved emergency certified legislation authorizing $68.9 million in state bonds for capital resurfacing and related construction projects. The funds would leverage an estimated $8 million in additional federal dollars and improve about 200 miles of highway while, at the same time, putting more than 1,000 workers back on the job.

“Given the tough winter we’ve had this year, the spring pothole problem is seemingly worse than ever,” said State Senator Terry Gerratana. “Potholes pose a real potential for vehicle damage for motorists on our roads, so I’m very glad that the legislature approved this bill to put the funds in place to get our annual resurfacing program off to a fast start. The sooner those bonds are issued, the sooner we can get our roads back into condition and the sooner we can get our struggling construction workers back in the field.”