Dunkirk Discusses Potholes And Paving

The intersection of Eagle Street and Lucas Avenue in Dunkirk is one area bedeviled by potholes.

It’s pothole season in the city of Dunkirk and across the region. City Department of Public Works Director Randy Woodbury offered some information about the car-rattling street nuisances, and the fight against them, Tuesday at a Common Council meeting.

“Even though we’ve had, knock on wood, relatively light snow in the winter, the freezing and thaw and wet cycles have caused the potholes to be very numerous this year,” he said.

“All it takes is a little bit of water to get in and then freeze,” he added, “Those of us that are old enough to remember a milk bottle left outside, it’ll burst the bottle. The pressure of freezing water could probably lift a tank, so it takes apart our roads.”

Woodbury said DPW is repairing the potholes with “cold patch” currently, which only lasts two weeks.

Long-lasting “hot patch” treatments will have to await the spring reopening of the asphalt plant that DPW gets its supply from. That’s expected sometime in early April.

Woodbury was speaking in response to Councilwoman Nancy Nichols. “I had a concern on the many potholes in the city of Dunkirk,” she said. “Everybody seems to think they have the answer on cold patch, or what, and if they could just do that.”

The DPW director asked residents to call the streets department at 366-4411, if they see any big potholes.

“We’ll put some cold patch in, but chances are, we’ll have to address it with the hot patch again in a couple weeks when the plant opens up,” he said. “Cold patch pretty much gets you by for the wintertime as best you can, until the hot plant opens up again in April.”

Nichols also asked Woodbury for updates about paving on Doughty and Newton streets. Woodbury said because they are considered truck access routes, they are eligible for federal funding, with the city not having to pay.

“But it takes a process that engineering technician Andy Bohn has started,” he said. “We hope to be able to do curbs, and all new driveway ramps and sidewalks for the full length of (both streets). That’ll be a multi-year application and a multi-year construction, but it’s in the works.”

A new survey from AAA, released Monday found nearly two in 10 drivers had to get their vehicle repaired after hitting a pothole last year. In total, an estimated 44 million drivers experienced pothole damage significant enough to require repair in 2022, up from 28 million in 2021 – a 57% increase.

The average vehicle repair cost for pothole damage in 2022 was $406. These same drivers ended up with an average of two pothole-related repairs signaling that America’s roadways need immediate attention. AAA urges government officials and departments of transportation to focus on improving road conditions, prioritizing areas most in need of repair.

AAA offers tips on how to save your car from pothole damage. It includes:

¯ Check your rires tread depth–insert a quarter into the tread groove with Washington’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Washington’s head, start shopping for new tires.

¯ Tire pressure–check this at least once a month before driving when the tires have been at rest and are not hot. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure found on a sticker inside the driver’s side door.

¯ Suspension and Alignment–look for changes in vehicle handling, excessive vibration or uneven wearing of tires, all indications of a problem with the suspension like alignment or shocks.

¯ Keep your eyes on the road, an alert and cautious driver is less likely to hit a pothole.

¯ Standing water or puddles may disguise a deep pothole. Avoid driving through standing water when possible but if you can’t, drive through slowly.

¯ If you can’t avoid a pothole, reduce your speed safely and avoid braking abruptly, particularly as you go over the pothole. Striking a pothole at higher speeds increases the chance of knocking the wheels out of alignment, affecting the steering, and bending or even breaking suspension components.

¯ If you hit a pothole, pay attention to any new or unusual noises or vibrations. If you detect something is off with your vehicle, take it to a trusted repair facility for a full vehicle inspection as soon as possible.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today