Crews ready to fix potholes

Village workers filled potholes with gravel Tuesday as a temporary measure. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

SARANAC LAKE — Spring is pothole season in the North Country, and roads in this village have produced an exceptional crop of the tire-eating declivities.

Saranac Lake Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Dora said he was ready to fill the potholes on Monday, the first day the asphalt plant was open this season, but the plant at Upstone Materials “broke down” that day.

“I was going to do that today,” he said Tuesday, “but you can’t put in asphalt in the pouring rain.”

Outside of Upstone’s Saranac Lake plant, Dora said the next closest place to buy asphalt is on the other side of Plattsburgh. Asphalt comes out of the plant at 325 degrees. “If you travel an hour-and-a-half with it, it’s harder to work with,” Dora said.

Local car repair services have noted a “boom” in flat tires. Staff at Carcuzzi Car Care Center and Madden’s Garage said they’ve fixed four or five flat tires directly due to potholes. Sudden impact caused by potholes also affects vehicles’ suspension and helps to rot the undercarriage.

Some of the worst offenders are the pothole leading into the Tops plaza on Lake Flower Avenue, one at the entrance to Helen Street and several on Church Street.

Dora said when the weather breaks — Wednesday, with any luck — DPW workers are ready to start filling potholes.

“We’ll be out there bright and early,” said Dora. “We’ll start with Church Street, St. Bernard’s, then do Main, then Woodruff and Bloomingdale Avenue.”

Although some of the potholes are caused by the normal expansion and contraction from winter’s extreme temperatures, a few are man-made.

“We replaced gate valves to the water mains,” said Dora. “It’s for a very good reason. We haven’t been able to contain water main leaks because we didn’t have access to those gate valves, and now we do. We now have the ability to contain all of Church Street and Bloomingdale Avenue.

“We wanted to get a bunch of them done; that way when we get blacktop I can patch them all at once,” said Dora. “That way we can make everybody happy.”