Potholes are as common to Western New York winters as gray skies and school closings. But commuters, street crews and auto repair technicians have reached a consensus that this year's pothole problem is one of the largest in recent memory.
"We're seeing areas that develop potholes that normally don't," said Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak. His full-time crews are out every day putting down cold patch, though he says complete repairs won't be conducted until asphalt plants open later in the year.
Stepniak maintains the weather is the main cause of this year's problem.
"Environmentally, that the temperature changes have been drastic. They've been pretty drastic, single digits to 40-degrees. But, there's been a lot of moisture, a lot of water that can penetrate those areas."
When those damp areas freeze, road surfaces crumble. Potholes emerge.
Though he's reluctant to address which roads have the worst pothole issues, Stepniak says the city is planning to spend $7 million on repairs to residential street with another $6 million allocated for main roads.
Until complete repairs are conducted, motorists will need to drive cautiously.
"Some people can be careless and hit the pothole very hard and it can cause serious damage, even throw your alignment out," said Corey Massaro at Mavis Discount Tire on Sheridan Drive.
His shop is fixing as many as ten tires a day, most of which have fallen victim to potholes.