JAMESTOWN – Your heating bill isn’t the only thing that’s feeling the effects from this winter’s exceptionally cold temperatures.
Miles upon miles of streets and highways throughout Chautauqua County have been battered by municipal snow plows, tons of road salt, at times heavy rains and the constant freezing and thawing temperatures. Together, the combination has resulted in some of the worst pothole conditions the area has seen in years.
In Jamestown, it’s become difficult to drive down any main route without having to navigate at least one major pothole. Elsewhere, the roads have gotten so bad that nearly all the surface pavement has been striped, leaving a rough surface that can batter and damage a vehicle’s suspension.
City officials are well aware of the problem. Longtime Jamestown City Councilman Tony Dolce said he and other representatives want to remind motorists to be careful. “We encourage people to be very careful, drive slowly,” Dolce advised. “I think people have identified the worst areas and know where they are. Hopefully they can either avoid them or at least slow down and drive as carefully as possible and we’ll do our best to get out, as weather permits, to get them fixed.”
Due to the cold temperatures we’ve experienced the past several weeks, there isn’t much the city road crews can do. Department of Public Works Director Jeff Lehman told WRFA on Monday that his crews can only do so much until the warm weather finally arrives.
“We can’t really get started to work on them until the blacktop plant opens up,” Lehman explained. “Short of putting in coalpatch, which is what we’ve been doing all along, but unfortunately that material doesn’t stick very well, especially when the weather was wet. We lost a lot of coalpatch when we had the warm up and the rainy couple of days. But we are out there filling holes but we can’t do any permanent repairs probably until mid-April.”
Some local motorists have reported experiencing damages to their vehicles due to road conditions, but according to Dolce, the city doesn’t automatically assume responsibility for damages that may have been caused by rough roads.
“We review those in situations where we would be considered negligent,” Dolce said. “But obviously, they’re all on a case-by-case basis and as long as the areas are identified and we know where they are at and we make an attempt to patch them as we can, people just have to be as careful as possible.”
Any resident or motorist who wishes to notify the city of an especially damaged or dangerous roadway should contact the Jamestown Department of Public Works during regular business hours.