Significant temperature swings and winter snowstorms have created a suburban assault in the form of potholes along local roadways across Long Island. In response, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino has deployed a S.W.A.T. Team (Special Weapons and Tactics) to do battle with the pesky road craters. The “Special Weapons” in Santino’s S.W.A.T. pothole response are comprised of newly added “hot boxes” which transport hot asphalt to pothole sites, along with the ability to “cut and patch” larger sections of damaged roadway with road paving equipment which has also been added to the township’s arsenal. The “Tactics” component of the Supervisor’s S.W.A.T. effort is made up of a multi-department response to the problem as opposed to the traditional single department response unit upon which most municipalities rely. In short, the S.W.A.T. Team can fill more potholes quicker than the traditional approach to potholes. The Supervisor also encouraged neighbors to call the town’s Department of Highways to report potholes in need of repair. Joining Supervisor Santino at the Pothole S.W.A.T. Team press briefing was Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito.
“Hempstead has assembled a S.W.A.T. Team to win the war on potholes as we respond to the assault that Mother Nature has waged in the form of roadway craters in our neighborhoods,” announced Santino, as he filled a pothole with hot asphalt at a Merrick roadside press event. “By adding crews and equipment to fortify the work of town highway crews, we will be able to fill more potholes in a shorter period of time.”
The town has increased the number of trucks dedicated to pothole repair from 18 to 30 over the past couple of years. In addition, Santino’s S.W.A.T. Team has increased the number of “hot boxes” by 266%, boasting a task force of 24 units. The boxes store hot asphalt, the material used to repair pock-marked streets. So far, the town has received 288 pothole reports in 2016 and has used 80 tons of asphalt to make road repairs.
More than just adding trucks and workers to the pothole repair effort, Hempstead Town has implemented a newer strategy over the past couple of years in the war on road craters. Where formerly only highway crews repaired potholes, two departments have joined the highway team in the battle for smooth roads. Parks Department and Sanitation Department workers have been cross-trained to do the roadway repairs.
The manner in which potholes are identified has also been modified. Previously, town crews responded to resident calls, reporting road damage. While the town will still respond quickly
to those calls, foremen have been also proactively seeking out potholes and reporting those asphalt defects to crews for response.
“Our road repair crews are out working hard to fix the damage that Mother Nature has left in her path,” stated D’Esposito. “Additional road repair equipment and newer response strategies are making town roads pothole-free more quickly.”
Santino and D’Esposito also encouraged neighbors to report potholes on town roads so that crews can respond. Residents are encouraged to call Hempstead Town’s Highway Department at (516) 812-3471, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.
The Supervisor and Councilman noted that the town is responsible for repair of township roadways; generally the local residential streets in neighborhoods. New York State and Nassau County oversee the parkways and most major roads in commercial areas. To report potholes on Nassau County roads, residents are asked to call (516) 571-6900. For reporting potholes on New York State roads, the state hotline for residents to call is 1-800-POTHOLE. Residents of incorporated villages should call their villages for pothole repair.
“The forces of nature have declared war on local roadways,” said Santino. “Hempstead Town’s S.W.A.T. Team is responding to nature’s assault with new weapons and a solid strategy to make our roads smooth and safe for neighbors again.”