Lehigh Valley

Fix for potholes in Easton costing city big bucks

Fix for potholes in Easton costing city big bucks

EASTON, Pa. - Driving or dodging? Potholes are everywhere, and some cities say the money to permanently fix them will have to come from other parts of their budgets.

"I've seen about four or five [potholes] already," said driver Terry Wilson.

Another driver, John Keene, agreed.

"Enough to know I need some new struts," he said.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto said a small army of road crews has been working to clear snow and patch potholes. He said several snow removal crews have been reassigned to pothole duty, but with more cold weather on the way, the repairs are only temporary.

"They're tired," said Panto. "They've worked hard."

All that overtime is adding up fast. Panto estimated that Easton has already spent about $300,000 on snow removal, including ordering salt for next year. That's more than $100,000 over budget, and that doesn't include permanent repairs to potholes once it warms up.

"That could cost us another $150,000 by the time we're done, also," Panto said.

For now, Easton is dipping into reserves to pay for all this. Long-term, the mayor said it will take all year to make up the money.

"We may have to keep a couple of [city] job positions open longer," he said. "One thing is for certain: will not be resurfacing any streets this year.  We had 100 thousand set aside for resurfacing streets, we're not going to be doing that.  We're going to be having to fix potholes."

Panto also said the city may have to cancel some festivals because they just can't afford the extra crews to work them this year.

We also talked to Allentown spokesman Mike Moore, who said the city should have numbers about how much all this has cost by Wednesday's city council meeting.

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