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January 31, 2014

Potholes in bloom across WNY

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — “We’re tracking overtime, salt usage, fuel usage,” said Erie County Director of Engineering Charles A. Sickler, who said cold patch crews will be prevalent on county roads in the coming weeks, including portions of the Tonawandas such as Colvin Boulevard. “[From] this year [to] last, just in salt, we’ve spent almost a quarter million dollars more.” 

Joseph Warthling, superintendent of the City of Tonawanda DPW, said his outfit started the winter with a “salt surplus” while crews have twice patched Delaware Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares.

“Our overtime is up considerably. Our salt budget is going to be a lot higher than in the past,” he said. “We haven’t had a big chance to get our pothole crew out because the roads have been covered. The cold patch works but it won’t hold through the freeze and thaw.” 

And with several months of winter left, the worst may still be yet to come where streets are concerned. Sickler and Rowles both emphasized that when a permanent spring that begins the sub-base below the paved roads will shift, causing the pavement to flex yet again. 

“It’s going to get worse, unfortunately,” Sickler said. “Right now it’s almost like concrete.” 

Rowles said despite the “old-fashioned winter” he believes he will be able to hold the line on budget costs, with many of the heaviest snow days falling prior to his new-year portfolio of Jan. 1, while the obvious damage to area roads may be wrapped into the city’s summer road repair list, with nearly $1 million earmarked for paving. 

“We’ll put a list together and the mayor and the council will go out and review the roads,” he said. “We’re going to begin paving earlier than usual because we had a bad [winter]. We’re ready to roll.” 

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