"We are in the height of the pothole season," Bloomberg said, noting that city Transportation Department crews have been working overtime for the past eight weeks to repair damages from a particularly harsh winter. "I'm going to give them a hand at plugging one more pothole here at 65th Street and 70th Avenue."Bloomberg said the DOT has been able to fill more than 600,000 potholes since 2002 - 40 percent more potholes than were filled in the previous three years - as the city increased funding for street repaving. Last year the city spent $70 million. It funded $75 million for the current fiscal year. Next year's budget allocates $90 million, which Bloomberg said should allow the city to pave 900 lane miles of city streets - an increase of 200 miles over the current year.Potholes form when water gets under the road, expands under freezing temperatures and thaws, leaving a void that collapses under pounding traffic. They are prevalent in harsh weather, such as this winter's conditions, which dropped 41 inches of snow on the city vs. an annual average of 21 inches."This has been a rough winter," said Iris Weinshall, commissioner of the city Department of Transportation. "But our pothole crews have been working overtime seven days a week and have filled 178,000 potholes this fiscal year."More than 30,000 potholes have been fixed in Queens since July , making it the borough with the second highest number of filled-road divits. Brooklyn topped the list with nearly 35,000. The Bronx followed Queens with 29,000, Staten Island with 23,000 and Manhattan with 13,000. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@times
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