Winter causes plague of potholes in Greenwich

If you thought that this winter was worse than normal for bone-jarring, tire-deflating, rim-damaging potholes, then guess what? You’re right.

That’s the assessment of people in the automotive service industry. As spring makes its first tepid moves to erase the memories of a harsh 2013-14 winter, drivers have been left with repair bills for damaged vehicles and new tires.

Anthony Zaccagnino, owner of Glenville Shell at 222 Glenville Road, said he has seen a bump in business as drivers stagger in with their vehicles.

“In the last month it has been really bad. In fact, I have three cars in here now that we’re working on,” he told the Post this week. “It’s been unbelievable this winter. Right now our suppliers have been running hard to keep up with the supply of tires.”

Potholes are no respecters of prestigious brand names either, Mr. Zaccagnino said.

“Last week I had five BMWs here, either to change tires or with cracked rims.”

Joseph Roberto, superintendent of the town’s highway divisions, said the town has been busy filling potholes to ease the problem for drivers but said there is no way of knowing when the next one is going to arrive.

“They are pretty unpredictable. It is difficult to know when they are going to crop up,” he said.

Because asphalt plants won’t be reopening until April there’s only so much that can be done right now he said. In the meantime, potholes are filled with a “cold patch” that is only a temporary measure.

“It doesn’t harden up like asphalt or cement, so it doesn’t last very long,” Mr. Roberto said, adding that vehicles driving over them and the weather can tear at the patches.

He hasn’t noticed a significant spike in the number of potholes due to the weather, but said the cold weather combined with thaws has seen an increase compared to previous years. Mr. Roberto’s assertion is supported by both Mr. Zaccagnino and Matt Swift.

Mr. Swift, towing manager at Round Hill Service Station at 369 Round Hill Road, said he has seen an increase in damaged tires and vehicles but said it’s due to the roads in the town’s New York state neighbors. He said the portion of King Street that is in Greenwich is in good shape, but when the roadway turns into New York, drivers are faced with a different experience.

“We haven’t had many complaints of roads in Greenwich, but it’s really bad in New York, especially on King Street,” Mr. Swift said.

Mr. Zaccagnino agreed motorists are fighting a losing battle with the New York State potholes.

“You can’t avoid them, they are so big,” he said about the potholes on King Street and in Port Chester, N.Y.

Chris Canavan, owner of Greenwich Automotive Services based just over the state line at 11 Hillside Avenue, Port Chester, said this has been one of the worst winters he has experienced in his more than 30 years in the automotive business.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, this is definitely a 10,” he said. “This was just a particularly bad winter.”

He pointed to a pothole on Byram Road just on the north side of the narrow bridge on that road as an example.

“It was about the size of a basketball, and drivers couldn’t avoid it,” he said.

At that spot motorists had few options to try to move out of the way if there was an oncoming vehicle, because of the narrow roadway on the bridge, he said. He said the town did fill it about a week and a half ago.

His shop has not only replaced customers’ tires but also worked on fixing alignments and damage caused to vehicles by large potholes.

The winter’s cold and heavy snowfall has led to another threat to vehicles, Mr. Canavan said.

“There are large chunks of ice on the sides of roads. They [motorists] cut around a corner too tight and they are hitting that,” he said.

That’s caused damage to the vehicle’s bodies as the hard-packed snow scrapes or punctures them, Mr. Canavan said. But there’s little that can be done to avoid this, Mr. Caravan admitted, adding that motorists just have to accept that they live in a northern climate and that roads are going to be hit hard.

“As much as they can complain about it, the reality is that it is a fact of nature in the Northeast,” Mr. Canavan said.

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