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Norwalk Official Defends Pothole Repair Work

Hal Alvord takes exception to the perception that his Norwalk Department of Public Works hasn't been fixing potholes. "We've been fixing them since mid-February," he said, describing how crews travel long distances to get asphalt and need to suck water out of holes before doing repair work.

In the cold.

Alvord responded to a story last week in The Daily Norwalk , wherein cab drivers expressed their displeasure with bumpy roads, Fairfield Avenue in particular. One said Norwalk's roads are worse than Stamford and Darien's roads, at least according to her customers. "I talk to other DPWs," Alvord said. "We've all got the same problem, we've all got potholes all over the place."

Alvord also described a process called delamination: Workers cut out a section of road and replace it. The process was used on Blake Street about a month ago, where about 40 feet of pavement was replaced in front of Bob White's house. "I think they did a good job," said White, who works for the town of Greenwich and said he knows how few and far between positive comments are.

One cabbie said the city has been "sued" over damage to cars from potholes. Alvord acknowledged there have been claims, as there are every year, but said, "We actually have far fewer claims this year than we've had in any year that I've been here. There absolutely is pothole damage out there, but we're not buried in calls from residents."

He'd like to think that a statement put out in February by Mayor Richard Moccia helped. Moccia asked residents to slow down, report potholes to customer service and be careful around DPW crews that are patching roads. "I think a lot of people probably paid attention to that," Alvord said.

Also not in the story was a cabbie's complaint that DPW crews were patching around manhole covers and not fixing the potholes. Alvord said fixing manhole covers is a matter of safety. "If it collapses somebody could get hurt," he said. "We've got manholes that are failing, we've got catch basins that are failing, we've got retaining walls that are failing. Those have to be repaired. You can't ignore those just to do the potholes."

A couple of cab drivers said cement was in a pothole on Scribner Avenue, which they figured was an amateur repair job by a resident. Alvord said there in no pothole with concrete in it, and The Daily Norwalk traveled the length of the road and could not find one, either. "It looks white, absolutely," Alvord said. "That's the bag patch that we use in the winter time. We're not using cold patch. We use asphalt mix that's in bags. It actually lasts longer in those potholes than cold patch does. But after it's been out in the air a little bit it does turn that white color. It's not concrete that somebody put in there."

Have you seen the DPW crews out working on the roads? Have you been to other towns and have a comparison on the road conditions? Comment below.

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