Every resident’s favorite recurring nuisance — spring potholes in their neighborhoods and along the commute to work — are back, and, arguably, more prevalent than ever, according to Camden County officials.
For that reason, the county wants residents to report troublesome potholes in need of refilling to the Public Works hotline. The number is answered by a live person, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the county. Requests can also be taken through the county’s website.
“We just recently, within the last two to three weeks, started getting our crews up and running … This winter has been extreme and the conditions of potholes throughout Camden County have been the worst we’ve seen in a long time,” said county Commissioner Al Dyer.
The hotline takes calls regarding all roads in Camden County, but its Department of Public Works and five pothole repair trucks – nicknamed “hotboxes” – are not for repair of local or state roads. Those calls will be redirected to the appropriate office.
According to Dyer, the county has allocated $40 million for pothole repair on its 1,200 miles of roadway. While the county has already addressed specific areas, residents play a crucial role in reporting other potholes.
“We have areas that we know historically need to be covered and patched yearly, so we’re already out there doing those areas now,” Dyer said. “But moving forward, when residents call the hotline, we can then go out and handle those additional areas.
“You can truthfully never fill enough potholes,” he added. “We insist that residents give us a call, because we can’t cover everything all the time on our own. We utilize that (hotline) pretty heavily because we don’t see every pothole that needs to be filled on our normal travels.”
Chris Merulla, of the Department of Public Works, said spring’s warmer weather is the perfect time for crews to get started on county pothole repairs, with as much as 15 tons of asphalt used on a given day.
“This is the prime time for pothole repair, with the freezing weather being the main reason those potholes sprout up,” Merulla said. “Every winter is different, but so far this season, we’ve put out five hotboxes, with each one holding three tons of asphalt each day … We normally respond to calls within 24 hours if they’re a county road.”
The frequency of requests can vary day to day and week to week, but Merulla said the county can typically respond to 20 to 30 requests a day from residents. He and Dyer want drivers to pay extra attention and use extra caution when they encounter pothole crews day or night.
“As a reminder I want to ask residents to slow down and be patient when they see our crews working,” Dyer said. “Filling potholes can be a dangerous job, so please remember to be aware of our personnel out working on the roads.”
The Public Works Hotline can be reached at (856) 566-2980. Requests can also be taken through the county website at camdencounty.com.