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Union Leader: Pothole Season Proves Need for Brick to Have In-House Paving Crew

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The following letter to the editor was submitted by John Menshon, a Brick Township resident who serves as president of the Transport Workers Union Local 225, Branch 4. He also serves on the Brick Township Planning Board.

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A crew fills pot holes on a road in Wall Township. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A crew fills pot holes on a road in Wall Township. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

According to a report released last year by (AAA), potholes cost Americans 6.4 billion dollars a year. There are good reasons why drivers cringe at the sound of that loud bang, that jolt that feels like it would knock the dental fillings right out of your mouth .We cringe because we know auto repair can be very expensive. A State Farm Insurance study shows that repairs to your vehicle to fix the damage caused by hitting a pothole can cost you, on average, from $300 to $700 dollars. Depending on the vehicle, these costs can be much higher. Many of today’s vehicles have alloy wheels which can cost up to $500 each to replace. What’s worse? The damage isn’t isolated to only the rims and tires. Potholes can destroy the whole undercarriage of your vehicle. Shocks and struts, rack and pinions, steering and suspension components, are often damaged by the hard impact of hitting a pothole. Depending on how deep the crater is, punctures to the radiator, transmission pan, and oil pan may occur as well.

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Road resurfacing is the only long term solution to this problem. Failed patch repairs and potholes are too costly for us drivers. Patches are bumpy and dangerous and are only a “make do fix”. Patches temporally fill the voids, but, patches will inevitably fall apart again.  Every town should have a long term solution to address cracks and potholes, the answer is to have an in-house paving program in place to resurface roadways that are beyond repair.

What causes a pothole? Freeze-thaw cycles, vehicles, and salt are the main reasons asphalt breaks apart and subsequently creates a pothole. Water from snow or rain seeps into the soil below the road surface. The water freezes when the temperature drops, causing the soil to expand and push up the pavement. When temperature’s warm up the soil returns to normal level, but the pavement remains raised. The hollow gap that was created now gets smashed by a vehicle driving over it and the pavement falls apart. Eventually all the pieces pop out and we are left with a costly crater.

Resurfacing roadways eliminates the chance of new potholes for many years because there are no cracks for water to seep under the road way. The first step in road resurfacing is called milling, which is grinding away the old top layer. After sweeping, a sticky layer of tack coat is then applied, which helps the new asphalt to stick the surface. The paving machines will then lay down a fresh new layer of asphalt. Lastly, roller equipment is used to compress and smooth out the new layer. The result is a new, smooth, black road surface that will be free of potholes for many years to come.

Many municipalities, including Toms River, Collingswood, Clifton, and Florham Park have their own paving crews. That’s because it has been determined by studies, like those on “In the public interest.org” that ”in-house” is a more cost effective way to deliver services.

Let’s see our tax dollars put to good use. In the past, here in Brick, we used to have an in-house paving program, most of the workers were residents of Brick themselves and they really took pride in their work. Residents would often commend the workers for a job well done. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, and administrative decisions, we no longer have an in-house paving program. Reestablishing an in-house paving program could save residents thousands of dollars in auto repair bills. It is my understanding that we still have the skillsets and experienced personnel needed, furthermore, we still possess most of the necessary equipment and it’s in serviceable condition, so let’s put it back to use. According to Wikipedia, the Municipality of Brick maintains 256 miles of road way. Over 1,700 streets! Many of these roads are in disrepair, cracked, broken and filled with potholes.

We must invest in Bricks infrastructure to ensure safe roadways for our children. Spring will be here soon, now is the time to act! We must invest in Public Works, refurbish, and/or buy the necessary equipment, and once again start resurfacing Bricks roads with new, smooth, asphalt.

Please join me and call, write, or email the Mayor and Council, implore them to resurface our roads, and reestablish a paving program at Brick Public Works.


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  • Frank Rizzo

    I always liked it when things were done in house like this. I say it is cheaper to buy materials at the same cost of the private contractor and pay these guys less in some cases,then what the union thug rate is for goverment work.

    • JJones

      Frank if they have equipment to do repairs I would agree with in house

      • Frank Rizzo

        They did before the Greek raiding party stopped the program and I think sold it. They had a milling machine to grind off the existing pavement and rollers and the hot box paver machine. Dump trucks they already have and maintain as it is,

      • JW P

        This is partly true. Public Works had a very minimalist set up for filling a few pot holes at a time, patches and replacing segments removed to repair township-owned storm drain pipes but the equipment went bad sometime in the last 8-10 years and the decision was made not to repair or replace it.

      • Frank Rizzo

        No…they paved whole streets…whole neighborhoods

  • Mac

    three things over $3,000 in damages from NJ potholes have taught me in the past year – one, don’t buy any car that doesn’t come with a real spare tire – two, don’t buy any car that comes with those skinny little two inch sidewalls that can’t protect the rim from total damage every time one drives over a pebble – and three, buy the granddaughters the type of vehicle I feel they should drive, not what they think they look the coolest in

    • Brandy the Dog

      Mac, Your comment reminds me of a sign I saw:

      POTHOLES AHEAD
      WARNING
      NO SWIMMING
      NO FISHING
      NO BUNGEE JUMPING
      ALLOWED IN POTHOLES!

      THIS IS NOT A CAMPING AREA

  • JJones

    Every year its the same story pot holes all over destroying our tires and cars and it takes forever to fix them …burrsville road is one of many diasters we have to zig zag on..

  • JB

    Don’t agree with an in house paving. Most of the problems are on county and state highways, which would not be repaired by this crew. If there is a pothole on a Twp. road, chances are you live there and are aware enough to avoid until it gets repaired.

    • JW P

      Naturally-occurring speed bumps, right?

  • Glenn

    When NJ becomes a “right to work” state, then we can put pothole repair and paving projects out for public bid and not have to pay union wages. With that never happening, due to the stronghold of unions over government, John Menshon’s idea requires further looking into, such as what equipment do we actually have, in reasonable working order, and what do we actually need to bring this back in house. The former regime hated Public Works, but the Brick residents stood strong and saved them. I believe the current regime futhered that savings by bringing more snow removal back inhouse.

    • JW P

      Yeah, low-wage right to work labor (probably all Mexican illegals) will work out great.

      • Glenn

        There is non-union skilled labor out there. Ethnic slurs are not wanted.

      • JW P

        Gimme a break. Every labor dispute involving scabs around here always hinges on how many illegals the boss can round up at the local muster zone. That’s what all this talk is code for anyway, we might as well just come out and say it. Open bids like this with no prevailing wage stipulations are going to result in unskilled fools messing things up or not doing them at all. Ever wonder why country roads are so bad in North Carolina and Tennessee?

      • Mark Story Jenks

        All the roads I’ve seen in North Carolina are in much better shape then the roads here.

      • JW P

        Maybe if you consider unpaved and single-lane an improvement, not that they get a lot of potholes anyway on account of the (relatively) warmer weather.

      • #@#.com

        Scabs? Typical “tolerant” democrat hater language.
        1 illegal Mexican worker can out work any 10 useless government union slug slackers.

      • Mac

        and 50-100 government managers, and that’s just from a little working experience to managers know nothing about

      • JW P

        Here’s your choice- a home built by semi-illiterates with subpar materials or one built by seasoned veterans of the carpenters unions with quality lumber and no shortcuts. That’s no choice at all unless you’re trying to scam someone out of their hard earned money.

      • #@#.com

        Yeah, a union built house. 2 years and 2 million dollars for a 1000 square foot ranch.

  • #@#.com

    Government Union leaders always want the same things. They want the government to spend more tax money and they want the government to hire more people. More spending, more union members and higher pay for less work. That is the reason for the unions existence.
    The N.J. highway Authority got away from in house paving long ago. Earle, Stavola, Hesse, can do the job cheaper and better. Same with contractors like Kieley and Harms.
    Government workers and unions are the most expensive and least efficient at ANY job performance.

    • Mac

      The NJ Highway Authority, now the NJT’s stooge roadway, needed and still needs to hire outside contractors for almost everything for two reasons. First, and foremost, is the fact that positions of leadership and management go to politically connected overpaid freeloaders who possess little to no experience in the positions they fill. And second, this traditional kneepad appointment process is necessary so political contractors have a surplus of the funds necessary for campaign contributions to keep this process well greased for more action tomorrow. Getting rid of 60% of the executive waste (which is clearly 100% of the upper personnel) and the numerous unnecessary departments within these agencies would both save tens of millions of dollars annually and would improve roadway services to the public overnight.

      • #@#.com

        The town hires political hacks and people too stupid, lazy or unemployable for the real world work force.

      • Mac

        perhaps but it is still the leadership of managers, be it the town, state or shadow government like the parkway and turnpike, that is the real problem with any poor work performances under their directions – like most things in government, there are so many generals that one can’t make a decision without affecting some other general, so they don’t make any decisions so they don’t rock the boat

  • #@#.com

    Compare Waste Management to the township sanitation department. UPS and Fed-Ex to the US postal service. Any private landscaping company or construction company to the township public works.
    The government workers move like they are in slow motion and the private company workers are like supermen.

    • Mac

      again, this is a result of very sorry management – you’re blaming the arms and legs for doing what the head tells them is okay to do