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Easy winter equals fewer potholes

March 20, 2012 5:13:28 AM PDT
When Mayor Bloomberg and the transportation commissioner do their annual spring-time pothole event, New York City streets usually look a mess.

They were awful last year. This year? Completely different.

"Last year, forget about it. It was pothole city. I damaged my car. This year I've been lucky," George Santiago said.

"A little bit better, but there's a lot more that could be done," driver Gerard Rothschild said.

This year instead of talking about how awful the streets were, the mayor had some good news. Street paving is way ahead of schedule and pothole repairs are way down.

Last year at this time the city had already fixed 274, 000 potholes. This year over the same period about 166,000. That's more than 100,000 fewer. And the reason? Nice weather.

This year spring is much earlier and warmer. This past winter we got only 4 and a-half inches of snow. Compare that to the winter before? 61 inches of snow, and that was brutal on streets.

The mayor tried to take credit for the good weather, saying it's been great for his budget, but the joke didn't quite work .

"We decided this year we would have less snow. It's supposed to be a joke, but geesh none of you guys, get a life will ya. For God's sake," he laughed.

The mayor, though, did brag about a new automated pothole machine now being tested called the python. The machine can shoot out recycled asphalt, gently rake it, and then tamp it down. The machine allows one man to do the work of 5 or 6.

Despite the warm weather, there are still potholes to be fixed, but this year at least there are fewer.

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