ShareThis Page

Penn Hills crews busy with salt saving, pothole patching

| Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
Above, part of large section of potholes in the 1800 block of Lincoln Road near the City of Pittsburgh border.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
A deep, round pothole was one of a large group in the 1800 block of Lincoln Road.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
This square pothole in the 2000 block of Reiter Road almost looks like it was carved and lifted from the road.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
Above, a series of potholes lining the side of the 200 block of Universal Road.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
A deep pothole on Duff Road, near its intersection with Ung Drive, in February.
Patrick Varine | Penn Hills Progress
This 2- to 3-inch deep pothole was one of a group in the 1800 block of Lincoln Road.

In four months, Penn Hills public works crews spread about 8,000 tons of salt on municipal roads, a number which, most other years, would be an entire year's worth.

Since Feb. 3, the municipality has gone through another 1,000 tons.

Salt deliveries this month have been sporadic and suppliers are behind on a 3,000-ton delivery ordered earlier this month, public works director Gerry Nosal said.

By the middle of last week, however, daily temperatures were topping out in the upper 40s and lower 50s, and work crews jumped at the chance to start patching some of the numerous potholes throughout the municipality.

“Crews are sent out into their snow territories to cold-patch potholes, and eventually they'll check every street,” Nosal said.

“Citizen-reported potholes are handed out to crews to be sure that they are handled.”

Residents can call public works at 412-798-2151 to report potholes.

While crews will continue patching potholes while the milder weather holds out, salting is still a critical issue, especially if temperatures are warming up during the day, but dipping back down at night, triggering a thaw-freeze cycle that can create hazardous driving conditions as well as exacerbate existing pothole issues.

Nosal said on the morning of Feb. 19, the air temperature was 41 degrees, but roads were freezing over since the road surfaces were colder than the air.

Municipal manager Moe Rayan said the town's funding for salt and cinders is nearing its budgeted limit: 100 percent of the liquid fuel account ($192,164) has been expended along with 92 percent of operating budget funds ($276,859) dedicated to winter weather control.

Rayan said he is hopeful that the 3,000 tons of salt ordered at the beginning of the month will be enough to make it through the remainder of winter, and maybe leave a little for November and December of 2014, “since we only received approximately 225 tons out of the 3,000 ordered,” he said.

In the Penn Hills School District, Superintendent Thomas Washington said the district's winter-weather supplies are running low as well.

“We're being stretched and so we're being cautious, just like everyone else,” he said.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.