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June 28, 2014

Businesses complain about pothole-riddled street

NEW CASTLE — Industrial Street runs from Mahoning Avenue to Cherry Street in Mahoningtown — more than three-quarters of a mile.

There are few spots along the road that are free of potholes, some of which measuring more than several feet in length and width. One in front of Mac Supply Co. has been turned into a mini-lake as a result of this week’s rains.

“This road’s atrocious,” said Todd Johnson, general manager of Hill Railcar.

“I actually bottomed out the other day,” he said about the experience he had with his sport utility vehicle.

“I traveled on mountain roads better than this.”

He and others with companies along the street expressed concern about the conditions that could lead to accidents and damage to vehicles, as well as affecting business. They have talked to representatives of the city, including Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo, about the conditions.

Johnson said if a person driving a car is on the street and a semi is coming from the opposite direction and moves to avoid a hole, “he’s (the semi) going to take you off the road.”

On Tuesday, two semis — apparently familiar with the road — were creeping along at less than 10 mph.

“It’s horrendous,” Dennis Kauffman of Mac Supply said of the street.

He said he gets tired of hearing customers complain about the conditions.

“My car gets beat up twice a day to and from.”

He also expressed concern that “emergency vehicles would have a tough time getting back here.”

Marie Carney, owner of Mac Supply, pointed out she needs to have the ability for her customers to get in to her business.

“I have to literally pick up supplies so that some of my vendors don’t have to come here.”

The company supplies steel, pipe, rod and safety equipment.

Johnson also made reference to a plant that transports ammonia, citing the possible danger of the gas leaking from a truck if it is damaged by hitting one of the holes.

David Binder, director of quality, safety and regulatory affairs for Tanner Industries, said the company does transport ammonia by truck on Industrial Street.

The road “is not in good shape,” he said.

However, he added, because of the way the trucks that carry ammonia are constructed, “It’s not a safety or public hazard. There’s no public safety concern.”

Binder said it is “a maintenance concern” with employees’ vehicles.

The businesses get no argument from the mayor about the street’s poor condition.

“There’s no question about it,” Mastrangelo said.

He said the city simply doesn’t have the money to resurface the entire street. RAR Engineering, he said, has estimated it would cost $400,000 to resurface the street.

Mastrangelo said the city is anticipating receiving an additional $100,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a result of storms that ravaged the area last July. The city previously received $44,135 that has been applied to paving.

The mayor said the city needs to take care of Boyles Street Extension, which is “falling down,” then apply the remainder of the money to take care of the worst areas of Industrial Street.

In the meantime, he said, he will talk with public works director Michael Rooney about using some hot patch material to fill the holes.

“That’s going to take a lot of patching.”

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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