Possible delays — pothole repair season underway on NJ roads
Expect some inconvenience on the roads over the next couple months, as crews try to take care of another inconvenience: potholes.
Feb. 28 marks the launch of the New Jersey Department of Transportation's annual statewide campaign to repair the many craters that have formed on roads across the state. To get the work done, crews may have to close travel lanes.
"NJDOT crews work year-round to repair potholes and keep our highways in good condition, but at this time of year it becomes a primary focus," said Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.
According to DOT, the winter weather has taken a toll on state highways — there have been continually fluctuating temperatures, and the season started with some major storms that brought snow and ice. Potholes form from the water that seeps into cracks in the asphalt and then expands in freezing temperatures.
Since July 1 and through Feb. 15, DOT has repaired about 87,500 potholes. The count is around 37,000 since Jan. 1 of this year; it was 34,000 over the same period in 2021. The department has repaired an average of 183,500 potholes per year over the last five fiscal years.
To get a handle on the potholes formed over the past few months, crews will hit state and interstate highways during daytime hours.
"It's scheduled between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., so we stay out of the heavy commuting times," said Chris Feinthel, DOT's senior director of operations.
Crews will be allowed to close travel lanes for the patch work, but, according to Feinthel, oftentimes the work is done as a moving operation and lanes don't need to close.
Potholes will remain the primary focus of DOT crews through March and April, Feinthel said. For now, temporary patches are fixing the potholes — crews will start to perform permanent patch operations when the weather warms up and asphalt plants reopen.