A few bumps in the road stand in way of Elm Street pothole repair

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CLINTON — At least one Clinton resident is tired of driving down Elm Street to the clickety-clack of their vehicles bouncing along the rough terrain of the chewed up asphalt.

Clinton resident Jim Farr, even took the time to try and get an answer about why the road is in such disrepair by emailing the Clinton Record to see what could be found out about why the street is in such bad condition.

“How about shining a light on all the POT HOLES ON ELM STREET FROM COLLEGE AVE [Street] TO THE CIDER MILL,” wrote Farr, in his email on Sept. 6.

Farr continued to explain traffic is quite heavy there with local traffic, dozens of students driving to school each day, along with city and school buses.

“Frankly, I am insulted and disgusted each time I travel this short distance,” Farr said. “I am sure the highly-rated village of Clinton can find the money to repair this mess.”

The Clinton Department of Public Works Superintendent Robert Rockwell said there are a “few bumps in the road” to get this done. First, not only don’t they have the money, but they don’t have the equipment, nor the manpower to fix all the roads, every year. Plus, the construction of that particular road makes it very hard to maintain.

“Elm Street, like Fountain Street and Kellogg Street is a concrete-based street,” Rockwell said. “Unlike the other streets that are binder and gravel based streets, on Elm Street water gets in-between the concrete and the asphalt, freezes and melts, freezes and melts and causes a lot more heaving which breaks the asphalt down in a faster amount of time.”

Rockwell said, when a hole appears they use “cold-patch” filler, opposed to the “hot-patch” filler for a number of reasons.

“If you’re going to use hot-based filler to fix potholes, the street has to be milled and prepped,” Rockwell said. “Basically, you have to grind down the area, called “milling” and treat it with gravel and then pour the hot-base filler. With the cold-based filler all you need to do is pour it in and it’s fixed.”

Rockwell admits it’s a temporary fix, but a fix no less.

“It holds up pretty good,” Rockwell said. “Until winter comes, then the water gets up underneath it and starts breaking it apart, especially in the thaw of the winter, then it really pops apart.”

Also, Rockwell explained the village doesn’t have as much money for its infrastructure as people may think.

“We get anywhere from $45 to $48,000 a year through CHIPS (Consolidated Improvement Highway Program, which is state funding for small communities.)” he said. “ If we used that money to do just the potholes, it would eat up the funding quickly.”

Rockwell said he is aware Elm Street needs paving, unfortunately the CHIPS money just isn’t there this year. The DPW just repaved Fountain Street to Chestnut Street.

“And frankly,” Rockwell added. “Chestnut Street is worse off than Elm Street.”

But again he is aware of the villages ailments, and he intends to reach out for some help.

“Town Highway Superintendent Jon Scott has helped us in the past, and has offered to help us again.” Rockwell said. “I’m looking forward to working with him because the town has a mill machine and like I said those roads need to be milled out.”

Rockwell said the village and the town help each other often. In fact, they helped to build the new construction on Fountain Street. Scott agreed with him and said so.

“I was looking at Elm Street and saying we need to get that resolved,” Scott said.

Rockwell said the town’s fees to help out with Elm Street still need be discussed to get this street repaired. He thinks, off the top of his head, it might not be sooner than two years.

And while Rockwell thinks it will take a couple more years to repave the Elm Street, he said if he can get together with Scott, and there is enough money in the budget at the end of the fall, he’ll try to get it done. No promises, but he’ll try.

“Right now we are working on manhole repairs, catch-basin maintenance and green-waste pickup,” he said. “We do the best we can. If we see something out there, or we get a complaint I want to address it immediately, from a pothole to a tree limb. or greenwaste blocking eyesight at an intersection or clogging the sewers. My first and utmost concern is public safety, but I assure you I don’t like driving over potholes myself.”

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