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Hot Asphalt and the Highway Department: Taking the Politics Out of Pothole Repair

The Town of Brookhaven is home to 3,800 miles of road and 483,000 residents, an area and population roughly the size of Atlanta, the 38th largest city in the continental United States. A town of our size requires roads that are up to the challenge of hundreds of the daily grind presented by the thousands of cars driving our roads each day. The Highway Department carries out a crucial and fundamental function by providing road resurfacing projects throughout our township. Equally imperative is the method in which roads are chosen for resurfacing. Our town is so large that a system must be put in place to avoid a current issue plaguing our Town, notably the failure to maintain the roads in some towns and the over maintenance of roads in other towns. We need to have all highway department contracts published publicly online for all taxpayers to be able to review.

My “Worst To First“ Initiative involves prioritizing road reconstruction by revamping the cataloging of how these projects are accounted for and maintained by creating a color coded road rating system for repairs. A key tenet of my vision for the Highway Department involves reviewing the town records to obtain data revolving around when road reconstruction has occurred throughout the town. I will create a priority list based on a review of the town records coupled with merging a town-wide traffic study by engineers to establish green, yellow, and red road zones to create a true, unbiased priority list

This color coded priority list will be available on the Town of Brookhaven webpage and will dictate when your neighborhood will be slated for road resurfacing and will also have a color rating of how your road fairs in connection with other roads in the town (hence, the “worst to first” nickname).

The priority list will include an "expected paving date" which will vary based on the level of funding from the Town Council and Town Supervisor. We will take guessing games and zip code favoritism out of the equation. Where you live should never determine when and whether your road gets repaved.

At the end of the day, we shouldn’t live in Town where some roads are resurfaced every five years and other roads have not seen a Highway Department crew in thirty years. At the same time, we must ensure that precious Highway funds are allocated for maximum benefit for ALL town residents.

The current “hunt and peck” system of road reconstruction does not work for a township as large and vast as Brookhaven. My initiative will repair the roads in grid fashion, so that all of the roads are resurfaced and repaving will not depend on the next "election cycle", which departs from the current practice by the Highway Department.

One additional aspect of my “Worst to First” initiative is once a road is resurfaced in Brookhaven, I will make the road a “protected” street for three years. I will ensure that the public utilities do not rip up the roads, except for emergency projects which will protect the investment in our roads from invasive projects. It doesn't make sense to repave a road and then have PSEG rip up the road to run utility pipes or conduct invasive maintenance work.

Full Depth Reclamation projects are the most expensive job in our arsenal, but often times full depth projects give the road an average shelf life of twenty (20) years, which in many cases is more beneficial for heavily traveled roads whereas a cheaper resurface “mill and fill" project will simply cover the underlying road problems.

The only way to make the quality of life in Brookhaven better is by ensuring ALL our residents receive attention to their roads, regardless of political affiliation or connection.

My aforementioned initiatives outlined ensures that equitable fairness will take precedence over political gamesmanship.

Politics has no place in pothole repair.

Vote for a new direction on November 7th and Vote Anthony Portesy for Highway Superintendent


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