Winter hasn’t just been brutal on the residents of Queens, the borough’s streets have borne the brunt of this year’s record-setting snowfalls and cold snaps.
Potholes are common occurrences during and after tough winters, and on Thursday, Mayor de Blasio visited Maspeth to help fill a troublesome hole and announce his plan to repair the city’s cracked and cratered roads over the coming weeks and months.
The mayor, donning a bright orange Department of Transportation work jacket, jeans and boots, joined DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and a handful of agency workers to help fill a significant pothole at the intersection of 60th Avenue and 69th Lane.
After joking that he always had a backup career to fall back on if elective office didn’t work out, de Blasio announced a six-step plan, beginning this weekend, to rehabilitate the worn-down roadways of the city throughout the year.
“On Tuesday, we broke the record for the most snow over the first two months of the year in the history of this city. And the historic amounts of snow have also managed unprecedented wear and tear on our streets,” de Blasio said. “Since January 1st, DOT has filled a record 113,131 potholes. That is a stunning amount of work in less than seven weeks ... It’s the most potholes ever filled at this point in the year in the history of New York City.
“It includes nearly 27,000 potholes filled right here in Queens,” he continued. “So we are very focused on the needs of Queens in this operation.”
The city will be allocating $7.3 million to the DOT, which will be reflected in the coming executive budget.
The first of planned weekly “pothole blitzes” will occur this weekend, with 50 DOT crews traversing the five boroughs to fill the troublesome holes.
In addition, Trottenberg said that the DOT’s response time between when it gets a 311 call about a pothole to when it gets filled is under two days, the shortest amount of time in the city’s history.
“I can tell you that the pothole complaints are coming in fast and furious,” Trottenberg said. “I can promise you, as the mayor said, we are going to come up with every new and innovative way we can to stay on top of the problem. We hear from the drivers of the city. We know you’re counting on us.”
Another portion of the mayor’s street repair program will include the city’s first ever winter weather repaving program, where DOT crews will target 90,000 square yards of roadway to resurface.
According to both de Blasio and Trottenberg, some of the streets that will be paved first will be in Howard Beach, specifically 159th Avenue between 79th and 80th streets and Beach Channel Drive at Beach 54th Street.
“We’re going to probably put out in the next couple days a very comprehensive list of all the boroughs and where we’re going to go now in our next set of repaving projects,” Trottenberg said. “And there will be more to come in Queens.”