Potholes are a hot topic among Freeport Facebook groups. In recent weeks, Freeporters have not just taken their rants online, but also reported their complaints with the village Department of Public Works, saying the roads are rough and the wait for repairs is long.
“I’m sorry but some of the streets in town are in really bad shape,” Mark Hansen, of Freeport, wrote on the Facebook page Freeport, New York 11520. “It’s nuts to just keep filling potholes over and over. It’s like shake, rattle and roll on this section of Southside Avenue.”
Every Tuesday, Mayor Robert Kennedy hosts quality-of-life meetings that allow residents to meet with him one on one to discuss key issues. During one recent meeting, an unidentified resident of Southside Avenue said his street was in dire need of repair. By 5 p.m. that day, Kennedy was driving up and down Southside, getting in and out of his car and inspecting the street.
Speaking of Freeport’s pothole troubles in general, Sonia Rodriguez shared in a Facebook message to the Herald Leader that she has “complained about this since spring and still nothing has been done. My van can’t take driving through those streets.”
Rodriguez said she was frustrated after driving down South Long Beach and Merrick roads and her suspension broke and a tire went flat.
According to Kennedy, the calls and complaints about the condition of the roads in the village pour in daily. He agrees with residents’ concerns, he said, and he has been working with the DPW to address them. When he receives a complaint about a pothole, he visits the street to inspect it and works with the DPW to develop an action plan for the road, he said.
A number of calls that Kennedy has received are for streets that are not under Freeport’s jurisdiction because they are Nassau County roads, and thus the village cannot act on them. Take Seaman Avenue, for example. The thoroughfare, Kennedy said, had been scheduled to be repaved by the county for quite some time, but only part of it has been fixed so far.
“The potholes are insane, especially the ones on Seaman Avenue,” Samantha Cariello, 22, said. “I’ve seen people on many occasions driving in the opposite lane just to avoid them.” Cariello said she dislikes driving on Seaman Avenue because she worries that her tires might pop.
Other streets that the county is responsible for include Brookside Avenue to Merrick Road north of the village line, near Forest Avenue, as well as Mill Road to South Main Street east to Merrick Road. In all, the county is responsible for 14 streets in Freeport.
According to Kennedy, 58 village streets have been redone, at a cost of $10 million, over the last five years. Sixteen more are scheduled for repair this year, at a cost of $1.2 million. “I have to spend wisely,” Kennedy said. “I need to stretch out what I can.”
The DPW is responsible for 310 streets, totaling 89 miles, including cleaning of the streets, according to Kennedy. He encourages residents to contact the DPW about potholes.
Weather sometimes prevents the DPW from repairing roads, but village officials are determined to fix them, Kennedy said. With the purchase of a new Hot Box — a machine that heats up tar and blacktop — the village may now be able to continue making fixes over the winter.
In the spring, crews are at work daily repairing the many potholes that form when water that pools in pavement freezes, causing cracks and then holes in the roads.
Ron Brown, of north Freeport, said that patching the streets is a temporary solution, and he wants a long-term one. “There’s no secret that the roads are in need of repair,” Brown said. “The quality of the patchwork, in my opinion, is substandard, having to continuously patch up work repeatedly.”