After one of the harshest winters in recent memory, what is it that just adds insult to injury? The many potholes now littering Wilton roadways are taking an awful toll on cars and are forcing the town’s Department of Public Works (DPW) to work to the limit patching the holes.

“This was an extremely tough winter. We’ve got plenty of potholes, just like all the other towns and all the state roads. Since a week or so ago, we have had 4-6 crews around town filling them every day,” explains Tom Thurkettle, director of Wilton’s DPW.

Wilton’s first selectman Bill Brennan addressed the pothole issue at Monday evening’s Mar. 16 Board of Selectmen meeting.

“This has been a very difficult winter. It’s throughout all of Fairfield County and frankly all the northeast. We have 127 miles of road, and we have 15 DPW crew members that are out. That’s a lot of roads with not too many people. We’re asking for everybody’s patience … and help. We’re fixing them as quickly as possible.”

Thurkettle echoes that sentiment:  “We’re trying to do our best. We just ask, please be patient. Until the weather cooperates, we’re trying to do our best with the people we have.

He explains that he depends on hearing from residents where the potholes are, and he encourages them to call the DPW office to report any potholes on town roads.

“If you call in the morning, more than likely you’ll be put on the list by the afternoon. It might not get done that day, but it might get done the following day.”

Right now, though, he hopes residents understand that any fixes are only temporary, for the time being. Given the still wildly fluctuating temperatures, the roads will stay a mess for a bit longer, in what Thurkettle says is a little bit of, two-steps-forward-one-step-back.

“We’re filling them with cold patch, which only lasts for the freeze-thaw life cycle. This weekend it rained and it froze out. If we can get a couple, three days out of the temporary patches we put in, that’s probably doing pretty good.”

Thurkettle says the more permanent fix of using asphalt will happen later in the year.

“The asphalt plants don’t open until around April 15. Then we can start doing a permanent repair,” he says. “But until we can get all the frost out of the ground, there’s not much we can do, especially if the temperature is dipping at night and the sun gets on the asphalt during the day and heats it up.”

As for what roads will get completely repaved, that’s still to be determined, and won’t start until at least June or July. “We’ve still got preparation work to do, putting catch basins and pipes in.” Thurkettle says he estimates about 10 additional miles of Wilton roads will be repaved in the next fiscal year (2015-16).

The number residents can call to report potholes is the DPW’s main number:  203.563.0152. During the weekday work hours there should be someone live to take the information; on weekends callers can leave a message.

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