New York City works to fill potholes in record-breaking winter

de blasio pothole
Mayor Bill de Blasio helps fix a pothole in Queens on Thursday.
Credit: Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Donning a neon-orange Department of Transportation jacket and work boots, Mayor Bill de Blasio hunched over with a tamper, pounding hot, black asphalt into a pothole on 69th Lane in Queens Thursday.

“I don’t care who fixed it,” said Dolores Gaidis, 72, who lives down the block from the monstrous pothole. “I’m just glad it got done.”

The crater was just one of over 113,100 filled by the city so far this year, more than double the potholes patched during the same period in 2013 and 2012.

Tuesday’s snow made this month the second-snowiest February in the city’s history, according to the National Weather Service.

“The historic amounts of snow have also managed unprecedented wear-and-tear on our city’s streets,” de Blasio said.

The ice and snow have caused road surfaces to expand, contract and eventually fracture, leading to troublesome potholes across the five boroughs. Increased snowplow and salt use can also damage streets.

“All of this adds up to a lot more potholes, a lot more quickly,” de Blasio said.

As part of a comprehensive plan to tackle the pothole problem, the city is adding $7.3 million to the transportation budget and launching pothole “blitzes.” Crews will be dispatched across the five boroughs beginning this weekend through March to fill the pesky craters.

Watching de Blasio patch up the pothole on her street, Joi Schlapp, 53, said she was pleased with the mayor’s road work.

“But probably in a couple days it will be sunk again,” she said.


The Pothole Plan

As part of a comprehensive plan to battle roadway wear-and-tear, the city will

  • Allocate an additional $7.3 million to the Department of Transportation budget in the coming executive budget
  • Do weekly pothole “blitzes”
  • Target 90,000 square yards of city streets as part of the first winter-weather repaving program
  • Improve materials
  • Work to enhance asphalt technology
  • Redesign dispatch and routing of repair crews to cover more ground, partially with social media
  • Outline ways to extend the lifespan of roads in the winter


Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


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