It seems like each and every time we have few days of warmth, more cold weather is in the forecast. But Staten Islanders aren’t the only ones affected by the extreme weather this winter; our roads have taken a serious beating as well.

So many potholes this season can be attributed to what is called the “freeze and thaw” process that is characteristic of winter. Potholes form when water from snow and rain seeps through cracks in the road and into the underlying dirt and gravel. When the water freezes and expands, some of the dirt and gravel is pushed out, leaving a hole when the water eventually melts.

Drivers unknowingly continue to drive on these weak spots in the asphalt, making the potholes even bigger and even worse. Add the impact of salt, snow plows and tire-chains and you have a lot of wear and tear on our roads.

Needless to say, pothole and road repair seems to be in our future for the upcoming weeks and months. If you’re hoping to avoid delays in your morning commute, or want to know when (or if) the Department of Transportation plans on resurfacing your block, read on for some helpful information on how the DOT plans to battle our pothole problems.

DOT on the Blitz

Mayor DeBlasio and the Department of Transportation have already begun what is being called an “unprecedented campaign” to repair the thousands of potholes covering New York City streets. So far this year, over 110,000 potholes have been filled, which happens to be more than twice the number of potholes repaired last year at this time.

Most of us have already seen the crews at work on the Staten Island Expressway or the Belt Parkway. More locally, Staten Islanders can expect to see “pothole blitz” crews repairing our streets beginning on weekends in March. As a new annual event for road maintenance, the DOT hopes to use this initiative as a way to raise DOT standards and productivity by doubling the output of each crew and covering twice the ground.

Hopefully, this “pothole blitz” will see us pothole free very soon!

Resurfacing Initiatives

Another goal of the DOT is to stay ahead of problems by resurfacing our streets, as well as completely repaving the areas hardest-hit by the extreme weather. Through new resurfacing and repaving procedures, the DOT hopes to improve our roadways in a more efficient, resourceful and environmentally friendly way.

Resurfacing replaces the top layer of asphalt pavement, and is a short-term fix and a less expensive process. This regularly scheduled operation improves the quality of the streets by addressing issues like potholes, cracking and patches of street that have been cut (by utility workers, for example).

Repaving is a more extensive process, and can take months to complete. Involved in the process of repaving a street is milling (removal of the old surface), readjusting utilities, and the application of new asphalt.

The DOT website has link on their website that lists the resurfacing schedule (see below). Updated weekly, motorists can see the planned activity for resurfacing and/or repaving in their borough or along their commute. Hopefully, this will allow for less surprises and delays while traveling.

Moving Forward, Despite the Weather

Normally, resurfacing and repaving operations are weather dependent, since temperature, rain and ground conditions can affect operations and productivity. This is why we usually don’t see resurfacing-type work taking place until later on in spring when the weather warms up.

However, Mother Nature’s winter blasts aren’t stopping the DOT from cleaning up. In the first-ever winter weather repaving program, areas hardest hit by this year’s weather are already in the process of being repaired. This is made possible by a new road surface material designed for paving in extreme cold.

The DOT hopes that this material will extend the resurfacing season to a year-round operation, allowing crews to tackle even more of the city in one year. By repaving and repairing more city streets, the DOT predicts that there won’t be as many problem areas next year. Let’s hope so!

Helpful Websites

There are a number of great resources in regards to pothole repair, resurfacing and DOT schedules in general.

Click here for the current resurfacing schedule.

If you’d like to report a pothole, click here. When reporting a pothole, be sure to be specific with information such as the exact address whenever possible.

As you look forward to spring, I want to remind you that spring is the perfect time to start looking for new homes. There are so many homes that have been recently listed  in many of Staten Island’s North Shore communities. Why not take a drive, through a few of the neighborhoods? Of course, I would encourage you to contact me on Facebook or Twitter. Even better, my website is full of helpful information about the different North Shore neighborhoods, local businesses, news and events. Don’t forget to check out North Shore Buzz for video interviews and home-buying tips.

There are two kinds of Real Estate professionals… those who understand the emotional and financial complexity of selling or buying a home…and those who don’t.

I hope to meet up with you soon!

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