Kearny’s beleaguered public works crews have been up to their collective ears in snow and brine and, now in the aftermath of cleaning up the white stuff, they’re busy filling in potholes.
Since folks began digging their way out of snow-packed streets, some 500 holes all over town had been filled with 35 tons of asphalt, by the reckoning of Assistant Public Works Superintendent Kevin Murphy.
If there are still some that remain unattended, Mayor Alberto Santos and Public Works Superintendent Gerry Kerr are inviting people to call a telephone hotline at 201-955- 7889 and leave a message giving the nearest street address or nearest cross street for that pothole.
Residents can also use their mobile devices to report a pothole by downloading the Town of Kearny’s SeeClickFix app which allows the user to either manually enter the location or, within the town’s boundaries, to use the system’s GPS technology to pinpoint its location. The app is available, for free, at the App Store or can be downloaded at http://www.seeclickfix.com/ apps.
This winter, Kearny DPW has responded to more than a dozen storms that dumped in excess of 55 inches of snow, officials said. For the recent three-day period when the town got hit with a cumulative total of 17 inches, the DPW logged nearly $38,000 in overtime, working consecutive 12-hour shifts in rotation.
A press release issued by the mayor and public works offices said that temperature variations during the winter “cause the water that seeps under pavement to freeze and then thaw, resulting in cycles of contracting and expanding water [which] can cause the pavement to crack. Once cracked, the pavement deteriorates quickly under the weight of traffic. Water underneath pavement can also weaken the road by eroding the material underneath, causing the pavement to sink and break.”
One such episode was noticed by Santos while driving through town last Thursday at the intersection of Kearny Ave. and Liberty St. where stone and fill were brought in to fix what the mayor described as a “small sinkhole” before topping it with asphalt.
Among the many craters that have cropped up, Santos said, are “serious potholes” on Bergen Ave. between Schuyler and Harrison Aves. “That’s probably our busiest local road where a lot of traffic goes to get to Rt. 280 and the Turnpike and temperature fluctuations plus the weight of vehicles caused the holes to form,” he said.
Santos said the town didn’t begin filling the holes earlier “because asphalt wasn’t available.” Some years ago, Kearny acquired a furnace-like unit in hopes of making its own asphalt but the equipment didn’t live up to its billing, the mayor said.
This spring, Santos said, the town hopes to repave a section of Kearny Ave. between Linden Ave. and the Jones Bridge. Also, the town has secured $200,000 to repave part of Midland Ave., “but we’re applying for more [state Department of Transportation] funding to do as much of the street, from Schuyler Ave. to Kearny Ave., as we can. We’re also looking at the condition of the water line under Midland to determine how much money we’ll need for everything. We’ll probably do the job in several phases.”
– Ron Leir