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Plague of winter potholes deflates tires, distracts drivers

by Julia Cirincione

With record low temperatures and snow accumulations, this winter has been hard on roads. But after all the snow and ice melt, road conditions will continue to be dangerous. This is due to the plethora of potholes that have formed on many roads throughout Scotch Plains and neighboring towns.

The frigid temperatures, constant snow plowing and frequent salt application are suspected to be the major causes of these obstacles on the roads this winter.

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“The fundamental scientific reason [for potholes] is due to the melting and freezing of water within the cracks in the road, causing expanding, contracting and eventual weakening of the pavement,” according to an article by Hoboken 411. This weakened pavement can no longer support the cars on the road. The constant snow plowing breaks up the roads and causes potholes.

The major problem with potholes is the damage they cause to vehicles.

“There has been an increase in flat tires, bent suspensions, and car accidents because of potholes this winter,” said a worker from Goodyear Auto Service Center in Clark.

Senior Gabrielle Charschan experienced this firsthand in Scotch Plains.

“I got a flat tire from a pothole last week. I was driving and couldn’t avoid it because there was a car behind me and another car on the other side of the road, so I went right into it and instantly felt my car drop.” said Charschan. “I pulled over and got outside of the car and saw I had a flat tire that was shredded. I had to go get it  fixed at the tire shop in Costco on Route 22.”

Potholes are not only a danger to cars, but also a distraction to drivers.

“Potholes affect my driving because when you see one, you try your best to avoid it, which isn’t always possible.” said Charschan. “It makes the roads a lot more dangerous because people begin swerving to the other side of the road to avoid them.”

Luckily, efforts to repair potholes have already begun.

“We have taken active steps to resolve this issue. We ride around and locate potholes that need to be repaired,” said Scotch Plains Township Manager Jerry Giamis. “We have started repairing roads with the most damage: Westfield Road, Westfield Avenue and Cooper Road.”

However, pothole repair is a slow process. “We are trying our best, but the product used to repair the roads is in high demand and is running low. The only thing we can do is temporarily fix them, and wait until the spring to repave the roads,” said Giamis.

Potholes in Scotch Plains can be reported to the township manager  at 908-322-6700, ext. 315, or through the town website, scotchplainsnj.gov/manager.

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