NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg joined a roadway maintenance crew in Queens today to announce a comprehensive plan to battle the historic wear-and-tear on streets and highways as the extreme winter weather continues.
The Department of Transportation has already undertaken an unprecedented campaign to repair potholes caused by freeze-and-thaw cycles from this winter’s storms. So far this year, the DOT has filled 113,131 potholes—setting a new record for potholes patched—even as it kept complaint response times to near record-lows. This year’s total so far exceeds the 50,434 and 41,893 potholes patched at this point in 2013 and 2012, respectively.
The plan announced today will significantly expand those efforts. With weekly pothole blitzes, targeted repaving for areas in dire need of repair, industry-leading maintenance materials and efficiency, and even better interagency coordination, the plan would involve all corners of the DOT and its partners. To facilitate and accelerate the extraordinary number of road repairs needed this winter, the city will be allocating an additional $7.3 million to the Department of Transportation, which will be reflected in the coming executive budget.
“All the storms, tire chains and snowplows have added up to unprecedented wear-and-tear on our streets. Anyone out on our roads can see it firsthand. Our new transportation commissioner has wasted no time in taking this problem head-on. The DOT has already made history with its efforts so far this year, and in the coming months, it will go above and beyond to keep our streets in good repair,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I want to thank the dedicated men and women of DOT’s Roadways Division who have worked tirelessly this winter in harsh conditions to tackle the toughest roads in the city and keep motorists moving safely on our streets. This pothole and roadway maintenance plan will give them the tools and resources they need to get the job done,” said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “And I am grateful to the mayor for his support and leadership during the most challenging, snow-filled winter in a generation.”
The plan includes:
• Weekly Pothole Blitzes: To tackle this season’s winter weather crisis, 50 crews will blitz potholes across all five boroughs beginning on weekends in March. This new annual event will be part of the city’s new standard operating procedure for road maintenance. Continuing their unprecedented output, the agency’s 30 average daily pothole crews will double their workload from 3 to 6 tons each, letting them cover twice the ground.
• Citywide Targeted Repaving: In conjunction with pothole blitzes, DOT crews will target 90,000 square yards of city streets and arterials in the first-ever winter weather repaving program. This program has been previewed with the previously-announced weekend work on portions of the Belt Parkways and will continue throughout the season in all five boroughs. With strategic milling and paving, crews will completely resurface these chronic areas and eliminate these notorious rough rides for drivers.
• Material Enhancements: Thanks to continued investment in research and development, DOT is producing industry-leading road surface material designed for paving even in extreme cold. This extends the resurfacing season nearly year-round, allows crews to tackle even more of the city, and helps prevent the formation of potholes before the next winter even begins. The agency is also rolling out a newly improved warm weather asphalt mix requiring much less heat, reducing the agency’s energy usage and emissions.
• Asphalt Engineering Technology Challenge: To make use of the expanding engineering and technological expertise in New York City’s premiere academic institutions, the agency will work with the Mayor’s Office to develop a first-of-its-kind engineering competition to further enhance the agency’s materials and operations. Working closely with DOT, participating students could potentially make key breakthroughs in making asphalt retain its usefulness in wet environments and further improving cold-weather operations.
• 21st Century Roadway Maintenance: To harness the power of New York City residents and social media, the agency will completely redesign its dispatching, routing and tracking operations to help crews cover more ground, slash paperwork, and ramp up their efficiency. DOT will look to equip crews with secure tablets for one-touch, real-time tracking of work done and for state-of-the-art logistics to get crews from A to B, and every pothole in between. The agency will also explore even more ways to use the collective wisdom of city motorists via social media. The DOT will also consult national experts on the subject.
• Impact Prevention: As this year’s record-setting amount of road-salt, snowfall and plow activity adds to impact city roadways experience even in mild years, DOT is lending its roadway expertise to the sanitation department as they fan out across the city. To limit the impact of plows and tire chains, agencies are conducting a top-to-bottom review of everything from the speed and angle of roadway plows to options for pre-treating newly-resurfaced roadways to prevent the accumulation of snow and ice. The agencies will devise a blueprint for extending the lifespan of the roadways in all weather conditions.
All these improvements come as DOT continues its unprecedented pothole repair and street maintenance efforts across the five boroughs as the citywide response to this season’s heavy snow rolls on. For information about DOT’s work on more than 6,000 miles of roadway, please visit www.nyc.gov/dot, and report any pothole condition to The Daily Pothole or to 311.