But beyond bone-chilling temperatures and total snowfall levels capable of burying full-grown adults while standing, commuters and their cars also feel the pain. By the thousands, potholes have invaded Sandusky’s streets. Ranging in size from golf balls to watermelons and even sandbags, massive pits splitting streets have burdened both drivers and city street workers these past couple of months.
“This has been our worst year,” said city street foreman Art Straub, who has worked in the department for about 35 years.
Street workers have gone through about $10,300 of cold patch, an asphalt mix to temporarily fill potholes, this winter, up almost triple the amount from a year ago.
The cold patch — think of a Band-Aid street solution — did help eight full-time employees fill about 2,700 potholes thus far in 2014. It takes anywhere from 1 minute to 15 minutes to fill a pothole.
But the 2,700 filled road gaps represent only a small portion of the whole problem. As of today, Straub estimates another 5,400 potholes remain on city streets.
“They are just everywhere” Straub said. “We had one (Thursday) that was over 6 foot around and 8 inches deep”
Street workers must quickly fix potholes when notified by community members of their whereabouts.
If workers neglect these requests, then community members sustaining damage or injury from a previously reported pothole can receive a reimbursement — or possibly sue the city — for their troubles.
“If a pothole we know about flattens someone’s tire or messes with a car’s alignment, we have an obligation to pay for that,” city commissioner Dick Brady said. “Our residents should have a reasonable expectation that when they travel on our streets, they will not have the fillings in their teeth knocked out”