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Some potholes not town’s problem

State responsible for Bethlehem’s three main thoroughfares

— Bethlehem officials have received a multitude of calls and emails this winter about the conditions of main roadways leading into the town. However, they said there is little that can be done because the roads are state-owned.

Bethlehem supervisor John Clarkson said he has received a larger number of calls this year than last. Highway Superintendent Brent Meredith said he has received 15 to 20 calls, as well as emails, 90 percent of which are complaints about potholes on Kenwood Avenue. The rest have been directed toward Delaware and Elsmere avenues.

“I have seen it for years as a commuter on the road,” said Clarkson. “You can tell immediately when you’re on the state versus the town sections.”

As a result, the town placed a notification on its website explaining that all of the pothole issues are on roads owned by the state, and there is little that the town can do.

“We’ve been contacting the state Department of Transportation, as well as telling residents to contact them,” said Meredith. “If we’re getting these calls, I’m sure they are as well.”

Meredith said the complaints are not going unheeded.

Maintenance crews from the state DOT have been out to repair the roads three times since Jan. 2. Meredith said the problem has been this winter’s sporadic weather and that the cold patches are not meant to be a permanent fix.

“The issue there is (the state isn’t) obligated to do any road maintenance. That comes right out of the highway law,” said Meredith, talking about the frequency of which the state needs to pave specific roads. “They can do it whenever they want, basically.”

Clarkson said when he first came into office in 2012, he wanted to see if the town could take over maintenance for those roads. He found that the cost would be too great, and there are liability issues.

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