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Temperature swings bring early pothole season

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The big swings in temperature we have seen in the past few days have brought about an early pothole season. If you have done any driving on city streets in the last couple days, you have probably noticed that your commute has become a slalom course as you weave around the mini craters in the roadway.

A steaming trailer is a welcome sight on New Haven streets. It’s a falcon hotbox, and inside it holds four tons of pothole patching material. In mid-February, however, these crews are usually making sure these streets are clear of snow, not potholes.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and it’s very unusual,” said Lynwood Dorsey, New Haven’s Superintendent of Streets.

Dorsey says the weather is to blame. On warm days, water from rain and melting snow gets into cracks in the pavement. When the temperature drops 30 degrees like it did Monday, that water freezes and expands, making bigger cracks that become potholes as cars drive over them.Related Content: A nice February thaw is on the way!

On Yale Avenue, near West Rock Avenue, a series of small craters made one man step out of his house and say, “It looks like the Moon.” Those same holes are also making drivers swerve into oncoming traffic.

“I was walking and I saw somebody swerve into the other lane,” said New Haven resident Amy Lehrer. “I thought, I better get out of this guy’s way there’s something wrong with him, and then I realize I do this all the time to avoid the potholes.”

Several people on Yale Avenue reported these potholes on the website seeclickfix.com.

“That’s the perfect tool that the city has is the see, click, fix,” Dorsey said. “That way, they report it, we get it and I dispatch it out to the crews.”

That is how News 8 learned about Glen Road and its giant holes near Ella T. Grasso Boulevard. Those potholes are a couple feet long and several inches deep. Dorsey says, be patient. They will get to them.

“Only thing I can say is if you see them, try to avoid them, and if you see them, report them,” said Dorsey. “This way we can fix them so you won’t do any damage to your vehicles.”

The good news is that New Haven has two crews working all day long filling those holes. There is bad news, however. If they are already filling that many potholes in mid-February, it is probably going to be a very bad pothole season.

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