Driving down Western New York roadways this time of year seems to be a lot shakier than usual. Potholes seem to be popping up almost everywhere.
"Water gets down in the little cracks, freeze thaw cycle goes on, and a little crack turns into a big pothole," Charles Sickler of the Erie County Highway Division said, "And we just had 2 big cycles to go through. So the roads are feeling the effects of weather conditions."
And so are drivers. Rocco Casullo says his garage and repair shop has already seen multiple cars with bent wheels, cracked rims, and suspension parts that are no longer straight.
"A week ago we were changing wiper blades and batteries like they were going out of style. Today we're changing tires, wheels, and suspension parts. A lot of customers coming into the shop complaining of shimmies, steering wheels that are shaking, and we're seeming to find that they're hitting potholes. And quite large ones," Casullo said.
So when the weather breaks, crews get to work making stretches of potholes smoother, more drivable, and safer.
We followed a nine man crew from the Erie County Highway Department as they shoveled, raked, and rolled a cold-patch compound to fill in the pot holes for the time being.
"This is a basic temporary repair to get us through the winter and depending on what the weather conditions do, this could last a few weeks, it could last a few days. We're hoping its going to last a few weeks, up to a month and then when we get the hot mix, dryer conditions to get a much more permanent fix," Sickler said.
All of this with one goal in mind.
"To keep the roads safe for the traveling public," he added.