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Beware of those deep potholes
June 7, 2013 - Mel Toadvine
Being from the north 17 years ago this year, the meaning of “potholes” has certainly changed my mind. While I thought we had our share of potholes that usually appeared during the winter months, I don’t think it can compare to the potholes found all over Lehigh’s ancient streets.
And while Lee County officials are doing what seems to be their best to fix these annoying potholes, they keep coming back. One case in point is where you turn from Connecticut Rd. just before the bridge. I don’t know the name of the bridge; they don’t seem to have posted names here in Florida.
They're just bridges.
I know kids love to fish and dive from them though, but that’s another story.
Potholes reappear there over and over and in the same spots. The county sends out workers from the Department of Transportation to fix or fill the potholes with asphalt and all is fine. Fine until a month or so later when the pothole suddenly reappears or another near it.
I have been told that rains cause the potholes that can found throughout the county. Add the rainwater to the heat and another pothole is born. You can always tell when a pothole has been repaired because the sheen of the new asphalt that workers put into the hole and smooth off, hoping it will stay that way.
Take my word for it, It won’t stay that way for long. And you wonder about the hundreds of miles of roads and boulevards and streets and avenues and lanes in Lehigh Acres and how desperately they need repair.
The county has put money, in fact, lots of it, into repairing roads in Lehigh. But the problem is that there are so many roads to fix that you hardly notice when you’re driving around the community.
But back to potholes!
They can be very dangerous. There is a deep pothole on Connecticut Rd., about half way down toward the canal bridge, the one with no posted name. You can tell that lots of cars have gone into it from the marks on the road.
This pothole can cause real problems and a little bit of money. Don’t expect the county pay for any damages a pothole may cause because if you’re smart, you’ll keep your eyes open and do your best to avoid them.
The pothole on Connecticut Rd. is off to the edge the roadway. It is deep and has impressions of when car wheels have dropped into it. It can cause the rim of your steel wheel to bend. I know because it happened to me just recently.
If an approaching car is coming toward you as it was in my case, and the car is more on your side of the road than it is supposed to be, you might be the victim of a pothole as I was. With no line down the center of the road, some drivers apparently think they can drive down the middle and this driver did just that, forcing me over to the extreme side of the road, where most smart people would think a shoulder would be.
The pothole is just on the edge of the paved roadway. For me it was “kaplunk” and wow!, what has happened? That was not a nice noise. I got out of the car and sure enough, my right front tire had plunged into a rather deep pothole.
Maybe this is not a serious problem, I thought. But it was and I had to call a friend who came to help me change my tire because the force of falling into the pothole had also damaged the tire, making it a flat. And when we took the wheel off, we discovered a pretty badly damaged rim and you couldn’t fix it, so we had to use that horrible little “donut” tire that we all have and hate so much. It was on the weekend and my mechanic’s place of business was not open. I ended up at the tire shop on the corner of Homestead Rd. and Delaware Ave. where I was treated very well
Someone there used a heavy hammer to bang the rim bend back into place and they fixed my tire and wouldn’t charge for their toil.
But the point of this little ditty is to beware of potholes in Lehigh Acres. If you see one off to the side of a paved street or road, try not to hit it and if you see potholes at right-hand turns, try to avoid them, but don’t crash into an approaching car to avoid a pothole.
Report potholes to someone who can fix them. Calling the county Dept. of Transportation is probably the best thing to do. But if you’re like a lot of us, we never get around to making that call. And if they don’t know about a dangerous pothole, don’t blame them for not repairing it. They will come and fill potholes if they know about them.
And I think they keep an eye on several that seem to open back up after a month or so of heat and rain.
For years I have wondered why they didn’t build “shoulders” along the sides of roads in Lee County. Now they are doing that with new roads, but the older roads, well they’re probably out of luck.
It sure doesn’t make for a nice bicycle journey if there are no gravel shoulders and no sidewalks in an area, too. Riding on the grass that sometimes has not been cut for a while, won’t bring any smiles to a bicyclist facing an approaching motorist.
And those bicyclists should also watch for potholes on the side of the streets because landing in one of them could cause them to be thrown over the handlebars. And that won’t be any fun either, probably less fun than landing one of your tires, usually the right front one, into a deep pothole.
Mel Toadvine is editor of The Lehigh Acres Citizen.
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