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Local News

March 12, 2014

Pothole epidemic jolts area road crews

A Northeast perennial is in full bloom.


Fluctuating temperatures cause pavement to heave, resulting in potholes and bumpy roadways, officials said Tuesday, and maintenance crews are having a tough time keeping up with repairs because of weather conditions.

"It's a continuous wave," said Larry Harrison, public service supervisor for the city of Oneonta.

This winter, crews have been out more often than in recent years, he said, and the "horrible" pothole conditions are likely to get worse as freezing temperatures return, then are followed by warmer days as spring approaches.

Mother Nature today is ushering in another cold, wintery spell.

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Binghamton upgraded an advisory to a winter storm warning for heavy snowfall in Chenango and Otsego, among other counties in the region, between 10 a.m. today until 8 a.m. Thursday.

Rain and sleet in the morning will change to snow, which may become heavy snowfall this afternoon and tonight, with possible accumulations of 6 to 12 inches, the NWS said. Temperatures may drop rapidly during the day causing a flash freeze on roadways, among other travel hazards.

In Delaware County, a winter weather advisory in effect from noon today to 8 a.m. Thursday will mean that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause slippery roads and limited visibility, the NWS said. Snowfall may be heavy and accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are possible.

Dave Hamburg, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the temperature in Binghamton was 52 degrees Tuesday.

"Because of the freezing and thawing and extreme conditions, more potholes are happening," Hamburg said. The seven counties in the DOT's Region 9 include Delaware, Chenango Otsego and Schoharie counties.

"All counties are pretty much in the same position," Hamburg said.

Municipal and state crews have been working to fill potholes with cold-patch, officials said, but the weather has been so changeable that the repairs don't hold.

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