Watch CBS News

With Temperature Swings, Potholes Causing Problems Earlier Than Usual

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Bitterly cold temperatures followed by a warmup typically lead to potholes – and they are already a problem in the Tri-State Area with the temperature swings this winter.

CBS2's Elise Finch found out how people are dealing with the potholes Monday.

The pothole plague started earlier than usual this year.

"Potholes seem to be coming earlier this year," said Ralph Brito of Ridgewood, New Jersey. "The roads are in horrible condition."

"It definitely has been a bit earlier with all the cold weather we've had," said David Carson of Ridgewood.

Guy Picone is the director of public works for the Borough of Paramus. He said because the unsightly cavities can lead to major tire and car damage he considers them a serious public safety hazard and a top priority.

But it is an issue his team does not usually have to tackle this aggressively until late winter or early spring.

He said this year, calls to the department and complaints on their website are up way ahead of schedule.

"With the snow runoff the melt and the refreezing in the street, it's doing a lot of damage. So this has been a bad year for potholes. It started early," Picone said. "It's definitely increased. I wouldn't say it's double the amount we normally get, but it's definitely increased."

John Lipski of the Paramus Operations Department said his crews take wild advantage of mild, dry days to fill as many potholes as they can before the next round of wet and freezing weather.

"Once they put that down, they'll use the rake; make it level so there's not a bump, and then they'll tamp it down," Lipski said.

Scott Crispano is the manager of Tire & Wheel Performance Center in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He said his customers are really feeling the effects of the early-season potholes.

"Most common that we see is just an actual physical bubble. Other times, it'll end up being where the actual tire is split right in two and it doesn't retain air any longer," he said. "Sometimes, the cars come through they have actual broken off pieces of suspension."

As a driver, you can't always maneuver around a pothole. But experts say what you can do is make sure your tires are always properly inflated.

"If a tire is underinflated sometimes by as little as five or six pounds, the tire can compress a little more easily when it hits that pothole," Crispano said.

"I always try to keep my tires filled to the manufacturer's specs," added Carson.

In Paramus, authorities say they are staying on top of things – using hot asphalt to fix early pothole problems, which should keep them from recurring later in the year.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.