YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It has been a rough winter, not just for those working on local road and water departments fixing potholes and broken water lines, but also for motorists.
“I think this is going to be one of the worst years we’ve had for a few years now,” said Marvin Pancake of West Side Tire & Service in Austintown.
And Pancake thinks it’s only going to get worse. He showed our news crew a couple of examples of the blown tires and bent rims his workers have seen recently and just about all of them have been caused by potholes that seem to be bursting open by the day.
He said drivers often won’t even notice the damage that has been done until later.
“You could hit a pothole. You may not see the damage to it for two or three days, two or three weeks, a month, down the road. You’re driving along, next thing you know you see a bubble on the sidewall of your tire,” Pancake said.
He said damage could cost anywhere from under $100 for a new tire or an alignment up to $1,000 if replacing a higher-end aluminum rim that’s been cracked.
The harsh winter also has taken its toll on area water lines.
“Pretty much been working around the clock and I don’t think there’s been a day that’s gone by since Jan. 1 that we haven’t had breaks,” said Youngstown Water Department employee Joe Dunlap.
The department has been setting records, already doubling the number of broken lines from a year ago.
“Two years ago, we had in the neighborhood of 37 to date. Last year, we had in the neighborhood of 70. This year, we have had more than 130 to date,” Dunlap said.
The Mahoning County Engineer said his office already has gone through about 38 percent of this year’s budgeted overtime of $175,000.
“If we get through this winter blast at or below 50 percent of our budget amount, we should be in good shape. Because the snow and ice removal are what really take a toll on manpower,” said Engineer Pat Ginnetti.