Area drivers finding a less bumpy ride this spring

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    SUSSEX COUNTY— The arrival of spring also brings the hazards of potholes for motorists. However, this year doesn't seem to be any worse than normal, according to local road departments and mechanics. "Actually, things have been a little better than normal," said Adolph Steyh, Byram's road department superintendent. "We get potholes, but we've had it a little better than normal this year." "Average, nothing out of the norm," responded Sparta's certified public works director, Tom Spring. "It has nothing to do with cold winters, it has to do with your road maintenance." Spring and his department tour the town at least once a week throughout the winter months looking for not only early potholes, but what usually is the early warning sign of more to come: road cracks. That type of preventive maintenance, Spring feels, leads to minimal potholes problem for Sparta. Local mechanics also feel the problem isn't overly bad this year. "No, not really," said Frank Koval, who owns Alternative Auto in Netcong. "I haven't seen much difference, believe it or not. I think I've had four cases this year due to potholes, myself as one of them." "I haven't seen any noticeable increase in repairs due to that," added John Young, a co-owner of J&J Automotive in Sparta. Because March is known for noticeable fluctuations in temperature, road maintenance crews normally use cold patches in early spring, which are more pliable than hard asphalt. Closer to summer, the asphalt, also known as hot patches, are used to fix potholes. Steyh explained that he and supervisor Doug Milens routinely go out and note trouble spots in need of repair, but that they also "rely on residents to let us know if there's a hole in their area." When it comes to county and state roads, including Route 206, however, motorists must deal with other governmental agencies. "I refer them to the state, and they have to contact the state themselves," Steyh concluded. "As for the county roads, I refer them to the county."