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Billion Dollar Potholes

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By Faith Jessie.
Preparing for potholes might not be the first thing on your to do list but when you throw a 3 Billion dollar price tag on the damage they cause it might make you think twice.

That's the price tag a new AAA study shows that American's pay each year to repair their cars from pothole damage.

"When you do hit a significant pothole the damage averages about $300 dollars and that could be from the loss of a tire, or perhaps a bent wheel, other suspension part, it could add up quickly," said Richard Jacobs, President of AAA Southern New York.

That's a $300 trip to the auto shop that you could be taking. Meineke owner, Dan Whittaker says during last year's rough winter front end sales went way up because of the pothole damage to parts under the tires

"The parts that wear out are the ball joints, the high rods, the inner high rods, the struts and shocks, and link pins. These are the parts that get damaged by hitting the potholes," says Whittaker.

Those parts alone could run you up a couple hundred dollars a piece.

While pot holes could cost you hundreds it cost governments millions but this milder winter could mean a lower cost for both.

Last year, temporary emergency pothole repairs for The City of Binghamton were costly. An $8.2 million project to repair 15 miles of damaged roads added to the costs in 2015.

The New York State Department of Transportation used 45 tons of cold patch asphalt, a costly, and only temporary fix to seal potholes from November 1st 2014 to Feb 18th 2015. In the same time period this year they've only used 15 tons, but officials caution that the winter isn't over yet.

"We've seen something similar to this back in 1993, when the early part of the winter season was not as harsh but then we had the blizzard of 93 in March," Dave Hamburg Public Information Officer, NYS DOT Region 9.

One reason why Deputy Mayor Jared Kraham says it's too early to predict how much money will be needed to repair potholes in Binghamton and if there will be any surplus funds to repair other roads.

It's also a reason why drivers should still take caution in the milder winter.

"Be suspicious of puddles that appear in front of you in the road. When most of the road is dry or maybe a little wet and you see a puddle, it's probably a pot hole," said Jacobs.

"If you can't get out of the way of the pothole, if you slow down you could do less damage to your vehicle or possibly even no damage to your vehicle, said Hamburg.

Some tips that could save you a pricey ticket to the auto shop.