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Senator calls for help for disgruntled winter drivers

Guest editorial by The Sun Editor Jessie Owen.

It’s a tale as old as time. The snow flies, we get buried under heaps of white stuff for months on end, and our cars take a beating from the endless potholes polka-dotting our streets.

When the snow finally melts, even more cringeworthy craters rear their ugly heads, exposed by the lack of snow and ice on the roadways.

It is a condition many of us have just grown to expect and accept. Most of us have become great navigators. Forget dodging a wrench; Western New Yorkers, can you dodge a pothole?

“I can’t believe you missed that!” passengers chortle, as drivers careen around and above potholes. “Were you trying to hit that?” they groan, when a tire slams into a hole, causing the car and its occupants to shudder.

Hamburg’s southbound entrance to Route 219 has thankfully had some work done; earlier this year, it was a treacherous stretch of unnavigable roadway. If you could not avoid passing over it, you basically closed your eyes and prayed your way through. Although it has undergone somewhat of a face-lift, drivers should still be warned about what awaits them on that stretch of the highway.

But that is not the only street in Western New York that has taken a heavy beating. Nearly every piece of roadway – well-traveled or not – is currently pitted with craters that rattle the bones and set the teeth on edge. Sometimes you can miss them, and sometimes you don’t have a prayer.

While most people grumble a little bit about the condition of the local roadways, we all acknowledge how hard our road crews are working, and understand that the potholes are nobody’s fault.

Spring is on its way – theoretically – but area street crews have a long, hard haul ahead of them, to tackle all of the roads that need some TLC.

Susan Surdej of the New York State Department of Transportation has warned that there is no quick way to get the condition righted. “We can’t get to a long-term fix until the asphalt plants open in the springtime and we can get a hot-mix asphalt, which we get a better adhesion from,” she said.

Thankfully, the conditions have come to the attention of some local politicians (probably because this is a plight they themselves cannot avoid) who are doing their best to get the roads smooth, once again.

According to New York Sen. Tim Kennedy’s office, some experts have called this year the “worst pothole season in decades.”


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