Hubcap-poppin', tire-bustin' potholes are in full bloom on Berkshire roads, keeping local highway crews busy smoothing over the ruts an annual springtime ritual.
In recent days, motorists have found themselves dodging gaping apertures large enough to cause damage to their vehicles.
In Lee, a 2-foot wide, 1-foot deep pothole near the Park Street bridge over the Housatonic River took out a couple of cars late last week, according to Dennis Kelly, the town's assistant public works superintendent.
"One driver who hit it blew out a tire," he said.
While town workers repaired the road, they also put a barricade around it because the temporary blacktop known as "cold patch" won't last, Kelly noted.
"Every time it
Potholes typically appear following the winter season, during which ice forms in small crevices on roadways and expands, causing buckling and breaks in the road surface.
Lee, like most Berkshire communities, uses cold patch -- 30 tons so far this year -- as a macadam Band-Aid until area asphalt plants begin producing more permanent hot blacktop by mid-April. Since heated asphalt lasts longer, Pittsfield two years ago invested in a machine that grinds up used pavement and heats it, creating a stronger road patch.
"By using hot mix, it stays in the holes longer and acts as a more permanent repair," said Pittsfield
Dirt roads are also susceptible to potholes, requiring temporary repairs until they can be re-graded after drying out. In Peru, that's probably by late April, according the town's highway superintendent, Dale Weeks.
"We've been spreading stone in the holes to get us through the mud season," said Weeks.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.