Montauk Highway Pothole Scourge Worsens

Lunar-like craters, help slow in coming
Peter Rucano, an automotive technician at Marshall and Sons in Montauk, said yesterday that between 20 and 25 vehicles had been brought in this week after blowouts.

Tires are blowing out and wheels are being damaged at an unprecedented rate in potholes along Montauk Highway, particularly near the Montauk Recycling Center.

Peter Rucano, an automotive technician at Marshall and Sons in Montauk, said yesterday that between 20 and 25 vehicles had been brought in this week after blowouts on the patch of craters on the highway, particularly on the eastbound side.

“Usually, when they hit the first pothole, the second [tire] falls in,” Mr. Rucano said.

One such pothole, east of the entrance to the recycling center, was well over a yard long, a foot wide, and about six inches deep. It is the last and most damaging of a string of potholes that begins on the shoulder and culminates on the main road. There are many such strings of potholes covering the highway, from east of Amagansett to the Lighthouse, with the area between the two forks in the road where the highway and Old Montauk Highway separate being the worst.

The damage to later-model cars can be extensive — and expensive. A 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan, for example, blew out both right tires Monday. “The tire pressure sensor was destroyed,” Mr. Rucano said. The cost of replacing the wrecked tires, dented rims, and computer for the car came to more than $1,700.

A major project was contracted out by the New York State Department of Transportation in April 2014 to take up and replace the blacktop on Montauk Highway from Stephen Hand’s Path in East Hampton eastward, but the contractor ran out of time to finish the job.

Eileen W. Peters, a public information officer for the department, said Tuesday that such work can be done only from around mid-April through mid-November. The work is held up by falling temperatures and the precipitation that occurs from late fall through early spring.

Ms. Peters said the contractor had been made aware of the problem and is sending out teams to repair patches of the road until the project can be restarted in earnest.

The posted speed limit on Montauk Highway along the worst stretch in Montauk was lowered yesterday from 55 miles per hour to 45. For some drivers, though, the newly patched holes and lower speed limit have come a day or two too late.