The Brookhaven Town Highway Department is recouping from the cold and moving on to a new task: filling those pesky potholes.
“This proved to be an exceptional winter,” Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro said in a Monday interview. “This year was worse than last year in terms of icing.”
The winter also proved to be costly. Losquadro estimated the department spent double the $3.6 million budgeted amount for snow removal, despite town officials injecting the budget line with an additional $1 million. Now, as the weather is warming up, the department is moving forward with repairing the roads.
Losquadro said the frequent below-freezing temperatures made the ground freeze deeper and is leading to potholes “literally forming overnight.” He said the warm daytime temperatures and colder nights aren’t helping the situation either, as the warming and refreezing of the ground allows liquid to get into cracks and expand.
Although the holes aren’t finished forming, repairs are on the way.
Losquadro said local asphalt plants are opening soon, which will benefit the department, as workers will no longer have to travel to and from Deer Park and Bay Shore to retrieve the materials.
“They were only able to [pick up] two loads a day, which doesn’t go a long way,” Losquadro said.
Despite the town’s effort, the potholes have been a nuisance for some residents. Mt. Sinai Bagel Cafe owner Marcus Argyros was driving on Mount Sinai-Coram Road on Monday when he popped a tire.
“I didn’t swerve and because it was in the middle of the road, I hit it and it popped my tire,” Argyros said, as he worked to put a spare tire on his car. “It’s like Mario Kart with all the potholes right now.”
In an effort to complete all of the repairs, Losquadro said the town is extending workdays by two hours.
While residents can try to get reimbursed, the likelihood of it happening during this time is unlikely, as the potholes are to be expected.
Losquadro urges residents to call the town when a pothole is visible so they can write it down and fix it as soon as possible.
As for next winter, Losquadro is already planning. He said he would ask for an increase in the snow removal budget, as he wants to avoid being in this situation again.