Damascus potholes: 'We're doing the best we can'
DAMASCUS, PA — At the Damascus Township meeting on March 18, “We’re doing the best we can,” were six words repeated by the board of supervisors several times when residents pointed out the need to fix the many potholes on township roads. During the meeting, the operational supervisor, Steven Adams, reminded everyone that it has been an exceptionally wet winter with six snow storms, roads freezing and unfreezing, the frost coming and going and more rain to come. He said that the road crew had patched potholes with cold patch, and they continue to try to open up pipes and ditches to decrease water build-up on the road.
His explanation did not stop residents from stating their concerns regarding the roads they live near and drive on every day. Cyle Levy said, referring to Holgate Road in Damascus, “There are 16 or 17 residents on about a mile of road. That is a lot of tax dollars. I haven’t seen any kind of material being brought in there to fix the road. The road is a ditch, it is literally a two-foot rut. The school bus can’t even make it through there. My mother is 85 years old. If she needs an ambulance, they wouldn’t go down there. It’s been exceptionally wet, but we can’t drive down our own road to get to our house. This isn’t a new problem. It’s been years and years of never building Holgate Road up. I used to build roads; I know what I am talking about. A concrete truck can’t even get up our road. We are here to find out what is going to be done.”
Adams said many of the roads need to be rebuilt. “It’s a process to build the roads up, and we’re only a small township, so we can only do pieces at a time. Everybody wants their road done, but there is only so much we can do with only so much time and money. In the past we have gotten grants for some of the roads, but that one grant doesn’t pay for the whole thing. It’s based on the criteria of the grant. It doesn’t pay for blacktop or tar chips, it only pays for certain parts.”
The chairman, Joseph Canfield, and the vice chairman, Daniel Rutledge, both pointed out that the rain last year killed production. Canfield said with 25 inches above normal rainfall last year, some of the roadwork was way behind due to that weather. Rutledge said, “I don’t care who you are or what you do, if you work outside with any ground conditions, the rain production killed us last year.” Canfield said, “That’s 98 miles of road just boiling out now.”
Other residents living on Holgate Road voiced their concerns that, if there was a fire, emergency trucks would have a difficult time trying to get down that road. The meeting continued with Cyle Levy and other homeowners making suggestions and asking questions to the committee members as to what could be done to fix Holgate Road.
By the end of the meeting, it was determined that Holgate Road was one of the main roads that needed work. Gary Packer, a surveyor, offered to volunteer his services to put a survey together to see what could be done with Holgate Road, and the board of supervisors agreed.
*Please note the previous picture for this article has been removed due to inaccuracy and replaced with a photograph of Holgate Road, taken by Z. A. Kholoa, who had no affiliation with publishing the previous photo with this online article.