Hole in none: Middletown Road still needs work

Photo by Aracelis Batista

A simple patch job just won’t fill this dire need.

That’s what Pelham Bay locals are claiming of Middletown Road, whose base has “totally deteriorated” over the years, according to Community Board 10.

The city’s Department of Transportation has filled a record-number of potholes this winter —the latest count is 140, 848 repaired in 2014 citywide —but on Middletown Road the problems run deeper than a pothole crew can fix, say the locals who use the street every day.

Patch up won’t do

DOT’s signature coating of asphalt, tar and rocks only delays the inevitable re-opening of the street’s wounds, said Rev. Marilyn Oliver, the tenant association president at Middletown Senior Plaza.

“I have seniors complaining to me all the time that their wheelchairs are getting caught, or that they are tripping and falling,” she said.

Community Board 10, which covers the easternmost slice of the borough, has for years listed the reconstruction of Middletown Road between Crosby and Westchester Avenues as one of its capital budget priorities.

“The base of this street has totally deteriorated,” reads the Board’s matter-of-fact request for the 2014 fiscal year. “Resurfacing is insufficient, as the street has collapsed in several locations.”

Pending Govt Study

It remains to be seen whether any work on the street will be worked into the new mayor’s 2015 $74 billion budget —a first draft of which was revealed Feb. 12. But the mood at CB 10’s latest meeting was less than optimistic.

“We’ve been pushing for this for years, but for some reason the City of New York doesn’t want to do it,” said Board member Julian Misiurski.

Any construction on the site was left out of the City’s 2014 budget, which mentioned that DOT was conducting a joint study there with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about “drainage and roadway issues.”

Outlook? Bleak

CB10 is calling for deeper fixes, including installing a new concrete base before any resurfacing is done.

In the short term, DOT has sent out crews to patch up some holes on the street’s surface this winter. But locals are unconvinced that the fix-er-ups will hold.

“They put a skim coat on,” Misiurski said, “And before you know it, the holes are back.”

Oliver said even the smaller cracks in the street can have big effects on the lives of the elderly living at her New York City Housing Authority complex.

“Even the potholes that aren’t that big are grave concerns for us,” she said. “You can catch your foot and break an ankle even on a smaller hole.”

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

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