They’re not only a source of frustration for drivers, but for the crews that have to fix them - year after year. But when it comes to fixing potholes, the conversation is a bit more complex than what meet the eye.
For Charles Sickler, the Erie County Deputy Commissioner of Highways, the pothole problem isn’t just a source of frustration for those driving on county roads, but for citizens across different municipalities - from cities to towns to villages.
“This year is particularly worse than I can remember. The weather patterns have made it tough for us to get out there, maybe we’ve had 6 good days, weather-wise, of being able to get out there and patch, we’re doing the best with can with what we have. Bottom line, Mother Nature isn’t making a tough job any easier,” Sickler said.
Across five districts, Erie County oversees 1,200 miles of roads.
“More roads than we may want, which means a lot of potholes to fill,” Sickler continued.
But one thing is clear, the frustration, is mutual.
“I can appreciate the public’s frustration. It’s something we, as public servants, appreciate. Is the material the best? Perhaps not, but this is standard protocol and we do the best we can with what we have given our budget.”
A budget of between $40-50,000 a year, Sickler said, is spent on employees and materials to rectify the pothole problem. But for drivers, like Joe Gullo, a flat tire doesn’t make for a smooth ride home.
“I was driving down the 198 and thought it was a puddle, until I realize after I heard a loud noise - it wasn’t a puddle,” Gullo said.
After missing a day of work and cashing out $89 to fix the tire, Gullo emphasized, “they need to do what they said they’re going to do - fix them.”
To report potholes on Erie County roads, visit the Department of Highway’s website or call 716-858-7966. To report potholes in the City of Buffalo, call 3-1-1.