2011-03-18 / Top Stories

DOT Sets Aggressive Pothole Plan

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has announced that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has committed more resources to repairing streets battered by this winter’s extreme weather, allowing crews to fill more potholes and complete more targeted paving projects to bring roads into good repair. Record snowfalls combined with rain and fluctuating temperatures this winter have left cracked blacktop across the five boroughs. DOT has already filled more than 50 percent more potholes since January 1 compared to the same period last year. Sadik-Khan announced an additional $2 million are now committed to pay for 30 repair crews to work 20 extended weekdays and 40 crews to work 10 weekend days over the remainder of pothole-filling season, through April. These extended working hours will mean an additional 40,000 pothole repairs and approximately 30,000 square yards of strip paving, which is targeted paving work at locations that need more than a simple pothole repair. Sadik-Khan was joined at today’s announcement by City Council Transportation Chair James Vacca and Councilmember Margaret Chin.

“Winter has not let up this year and neither have our roadway repair efforts,” said Sadik-Khan. “Our crews have already filled nearly 85,000 potholes this year and now these reinforcements will help make our streets safe and smooth and keep New York’s economy moving.”

On an average day, DOT crews fill 2,000 potholes and with 30 crews now working 10-hour shifts the average can increase to between 3,000 and 4,000 potholes repaired in a single day. The agency has already filled 83,850 potholes since January 1. During the same time last year, DOT filled a total of 54,426 potholes on the way to a record of nearly 400,000 repairs in the fiscal year. DOT has fixed more than 2.3 million potholes since 2002 and has continued resurfacing efforts as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC and DOT’s strategic plan to ensure the health of the city’s infrastructure.

The agency also launched “The Daily Pothole,” a blog that tracks the agency’s pothole-filling efforts citywide. The site displays maps charting where potholefilling efforts have been targeted, as well as pictures of crews working and the number of potholes filled during the winter blitz. It also allows the public to report potholes easily. The site can be viewed through DOT’s home page at nyc.gov/dot or at thedailypothole.tumblr.com.

In addition to repairing potholes, DOT has kept the roads in a state of good repair by resurfacing 928 miles of road in 2010, much of it from recycled asphalt produced in its own plant on Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn and at the newly acquired Harper Street plant, which Mayor Bloomberg opened last year.

This fiscal year, the Bloomberg Administration has budgeted $190.4 million for paving and pothole repair operations on city streets and has now added $2 million to buttress those operations.

The City opened a second municipal asphalt plant, in Queens, in July, helping the City conduct paving more efficiently and cheaply. By using City-produced asphalt containing 40 percent recycled asphalt pavement and vendor asphalt using 32 percent RAP, DOT is also saving 276,000 tons of milled asphalt from landfills, eliminating the need to process 1.3 million barrels of oil that would have been used to produce asphalt cement and some 507,000 local truck miles traveled in the City carrying asphalt materials and carting away ripped-up pavement. The City is also experimenting with new asphalt that can be placed at lower temperatures, which saves energy in production and can potentially extend the paving season, which ends in December.

The City uses many resources to identify potholes, including through 311 and the SCOUT (Street Conditions Observation Unit) program. Residents are encouraged to call 311 to report potholes, which so far this month are being repaired in less than three days, on average.

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