York residents: Fix our roads

jbecknell@enquirerherald.comMarch 13, 2014 

— An extended spate of cold, wet winter weather has resulted in damage to many streets, and some residents say the problem needs to be addressed.

Ten residents on Benfield Avenue wrote a letter to York Mayor Eddie Lee requesting the street be repaved because pothole patches have not been successful.

“It’s just gotten worse over the last couple years,” said retired dentist William Sandifer Jr., who lives on Benfield. He said the rock-and-tar street hasn’t been repaved since about 1969, and that patching the potholes has been a temporary fix.

The patched potholes, Sandifer said, “empty back out after the first rain or two, and you’ve got more water in them. It’s just rough. It’s just a real poor street.”

Lee said most streets in the city of York are owned and maintained by the S.C. Department of Transportation. Lee said the residents’ letter has been sent to the DOT’s District 4 office in Chester, which covers York County and six other counties.

Lee said there are potholes in many neighbohoods. “The weather has certainly aggravated the problem,” he said. “It’s gotten progressively worse throughout the winter.”

John McCarter, administrator for the DOT’s District 4, said he recently rode around in York with City Manager Charles Helms to see some of the damaged streets.

“State roads certainly have taken a beating this winter, and we are behind on working on every single one of them,” McCarter said. “We’re certainly going to address every situation as soon as we can.”

McCarter said the state maintains about 1,300 miles of roads in York County alone, and about 6,000 miles of roads in the seven counties in District 4. “We’re doing our best to get around to all of them,” he said.

Helms said Benfield Avenue isn’t the only street with potholes, and that many streets with potholes are heavily traveled. He said there are potholes on Blackburn, Roosevelt and North Congress streets, and on S.C. 49.

“Any time you have a hard winter, you’re going to have potholes,” Helms said.

McCarter said the roadwork done right now will be only temporary patches; for permanent fixes, he said, the weather must be at least 50 degrees and dry.

He also said it’s difficult to get asphalt because many asphalt plants don’t operate in the winter, and some paving companies don’t work in the early winter months.

“Paving season is getting pushed back because of the cold,” he said. “It’s a real statewide issue this time of year.”

McCarter said roads are damaged when ice crystals freeze in the pavement and then burst; they’re also damaged when trucks scape snow and ice off from them.

“If they are state-maintained roads, we do have a routine patch crew that goes around the county,” McCarter said. “We have 1,300 miles of roads right now in York County, and probably 65 percent of them have potholes.”

McCarter said that when the weather gets warmer and drier, state crews will be able to begin permanent repairs. “It’s just been a tough winter,” he said.

Jennifer Becknell •  803-329-4077

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