NYSDOT estimates it will use 20 percent more "pothole patch" mixture on state highways this year. Geoff Redick reports.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Springtime has its flowers, summer the sunshine, and autumn the changing leaves.
And aside from snow, winter has its potholes.
"Oh god, yeah. They're everywhere," said Tom Landry on Wednesday as he pumped gas in Colonie. "They destroy your vehicle. Especially in the villages and towns, they're loaded."
Landry drives a pick-up truck to combat the holes, which can be several feet wide and inches deep.
"The roads are worse this year, than I've seen in other years," Al Suhocki said as he walked into a gas station. "The holes are a lot bigger. The heat, then the cold...it's messing the roads up bad."
In fact, the winter of 2013-2014 has been one of the worst in recent history for potholes, across New York State. The Department of Transportation has used more than 7,900 tons of pothole "cold patch" to repair the roads an amount the state would normally use in an entire winter.
"And we obviously still have some winter to go," reported DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani. "We're estimating that we'll use about 10,000 tons of that material."
But the "cold patch" cannot account for weather, and the forecast ahead for the Capital Region is ripe for potholes. Temperatures will soar near 50 degrees late in the week, before plunging back below freezing again. That allows moisture to build beneath the road asphalt, and when it freezes, the road cracks.
Local auto repair shops stand to benefit from the potholes. Albany Light Truck & Car Repair has seen a notable uptick in pothole-related damages this winter. On Wednesday they repaired an extensive undercarriage damage, caused by a pothole, that cost the customer $2,000 for a new wheel, strut, control arm and tire.
"Having the right tire pressure is going to help when you do hit a pothole," said service manager Vinny Ciccarelli. "At your normal oil change or service appointment, have them check the shocks and struts to see if some of those components are already compromised."
You can report the potholes you see while driving to the State Department of Transportation, by calling the pothole hotline: 1-800-POTHOLE.