Plagued by potholes

by Town Reminder

Town earmarks funds for roads, DPW prioritizes repairs


By Kristin Will

SOUTH HADLEY – Until a local asphalt plant opens in spring, the South Hadley Department of Public Works’ [DPW] will continue to use cold patch, a temporary fix, to fill potholes.
And there’s plenty of them around town, thanks to the brutal winter Massachusetts experienced.
“We’re working on them now,” said DPW Superintendent Jim Reidy. “With the cold temperatures, the frost really went down deep this year. We’ve got a fair amount.”
East Street, from Morgan Street to Granby Road, tops the Department of Public Works’ [DPW] list of streets in the most need of repair.
Reidy said it is “in absolutely horrendous shape.”
Those repairs are out to bid, he said. A neighborhood meeting about the repairs will be held Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the public library.
Other road repairs set for this year will take place in the Hollywood Avenue neighborhood. Streets include Tampa and Michael Drive.
“And then certainly, we have to look at Alvord and Ferry streets,” said Reidy. These streets are in the DPW’s immediate plans.
“These streets have been on the plan for a while now,” said Reidy, referring to a five-year plan maintained by the DPW.
The town will likely receive close to $1 million in Chapter 90 funds, said Town Administrator Michael J. Sullivan. These funds are used for transportation-related projects, such as road and sidewalk repairs on that five-year plan.
“That probably still is not enough,” said Sullivan of the allocation.
At the Selectboard’s March 3 meeting held at Gamble Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College, Selectboard member Sarah Etelman told students asking about pot holes and road repairs, “It’s exciting to finally be able to put some of that money toward some of those needed repairs and hopefully be able to continue that every year for a while.”
Deferred maintenance will consume a large portion of those funds.
“We’re well behind,” said Sullivan. “There’s a number of projects we’re going to address.”
Sullivan suggests residents email about potholes they’ve come across. Some potholes form overnight and the DPW is not necessarily aware of all their locations.
“We’re doing the best we can,” said Sullivan.
He’s asked the DPW to construct and place signs in areas where potholes are particularly bad to alert drivers of what lies ahead.
The number of claims drivers have filed with the town about potholes damaging vehicles is significantly low – at least one, but not many more, he said.
“The town is not denying the existence of nature’s speed bumps,” said Sullivan. But, “drivers have to bare some responsibility and be aware. You have to go slow.”