By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The recent winter weather and extreme cold snap is taking its toll on the roads. Many motorists are dealing with potholes, which are causing havoc earlier than expected this season.
Barbara Irving’s experience Monday afternoon may be all too familiar. The Media resident was with her husband traveling through Philadelphia to deliver frozen meals to a church. Irving said it was around noon when she was driving north on City Avenue, close to the City Avenue Shopping Center, when they encountered one of those dreaded potholes in the right lane.
“All of a sudden, unable to swerve, I hit this deep pothole,” she explained. “It was a hard hit, and it resulted in two flat tires.”
She said after getting towed, buying new tires and paying for repairs, their pockets were $438 lighter.
“Our tires were shredded; they just weren’t flat, they were totally ruined,” she said. Irving also said the pothole tore into tires on seven other cars Monday.
PennDOT spokesman Charles Metzger says that particular pothole has been filled and they urge anyone who sees potholes or other problems to call them at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
“Our crews will go out and address it within a day,” he said. “It’s usually for state roads, but if somebody calls in with a local road, we’ll pass it along to the local municipality.”
Steve Lorenz, Chief Highway Engineer with the Philadelphia Streets Department, says pothole season has come earlier than usual.
“The potholes spring up usually around February or March. However, with the cold weather that we just had come through and it’s still cold out, potholes seem to emerge earlier,” he said.
And those cold temperatures have made it more difficult for their crews to hit the roads as fast as many residents would like.
“Ideally, 20 degrees and rising, the material we use for the potholes should stick. However, once you get below 20, it’s more difficult just for the material to stick to the roadway,” he said.
Metzger, with PennDOT, says their crews use a “cold patch” in the winter and a “hot mix” in the summer.
“The hot mix is the standard tar and asphalt while cold patch can be used at colder temps. We also use spray patch,” Metzger explained. “The hot mix will be a more stable fix and last longer when we use cold patch we usually go back and make a more permanent fix when it gets warming.”
If you live in Philadelphia you can report a pothole by dialing 3-1-1 or going online. In Camden County, NJ, officials are also asking drivers to report holes to the Camden County Public Works Hotline at (856) 566-2980. Motorists can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use social media, such as the Facebook account at www.facebook.com/camdencountynj or on Twitter at @camdencountynj.