NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Here a pothole, there a pothole, everywhere a pothole.
In order to respond to the drastic toll this winter has taken on New Jersey's roads, the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced last month that it will soon be launching a massive road repair campaign.
NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson said that in order to repair potholes as quickly as possible, the department will be allowing crews throughout the state to close travel lanes where necessary during daytime hours, including during peak travel times for priority repairs.
“This has been a brutal winter that has taken a heavy toll on our roads, but I want to assure New Jersey residents that we are focusing all available resources to make repairs as quickly as possible,” Simpson said.
Where possible, crews will limit their daytime work hours to 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and will try to avoid working in travel lanes carrying traffic in the peak direction during peak times, Simpson said.
But motorists may encounter maintenance crews making priority repairs any time of the day or night during this campaign.
City roadways which fall under the NJDOT's jurisdiction include U.S. Highway 1 and Route 18, and parts of Route 27.
The City Council also recenty approved a $343,460 expenditure to re-build Hamilton Street, one of many the city plans to focus on in the coming season.
Asphalt plants are closed during the winter, so the city's Department of Public Works has been rushing to use "cold patches" to fill in the potholes to hold the city over until full-fledged repairs can be undertaken in the spring.
This winter's weather combination of heavy precipitation and drastic temperature changes have caused an increase in the need for road repairs, said Joseph Dee, the NJDOT press secretary.
“The fluctuating temperatures above and below the freezing mark has created problems all over the place for potholes,” Dee said. “These freeze thaw cycles really end up breaking up the pavement.”
The DOT reports that in a typical year its crews repair an average of 160,000 potholes, whereas this year 100,000 pothole repairs have already been completed before the end of February.
Potholes on state highways can be reported by calling 1-800-pothole or visiting the NJDOT website at http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/commuter/potholeform.shtm.
To report a pothole on a county or local road, call the Middlesex County Pothole hotline at 732-940-3800. For craters on city streets, call the New Brunswick Department of Public Works at 732-745-5104.
Additionally, a Rutgers professor who run a mapping consultancy firm has produced an app to track potholes and their repair.
Dr. Wansoo Im and his team at city-based Vertices LLC recently launched the Mappler-K App, which allows anyone internet access to alert the public of any road deformities.
“As long as you have internet access in smart phone or a computer you can record pictures or details onto our cloudspace map and it is shared automatically with everyone,” said Keith Kim, the Operating Manager for Vertices.
In the week since the app launched, nearly 600 potholes were reported, Kim said.
Kim said the Mappler K-App, which can be downloaded for free on iTunes or the Google app store, was launched at the perfect time.
“I think we just started this project at the right time, because people have been really annoyed about the potholes statewide,” he said. “We've got a really great response.”
Many instances of ruptured roads within the city and Middlesex County have been reported via the app, which is available for demo via the Vertices website at http://www.mappler.net/demo/.