NORTH TONAWANDA – The brutal winter and devastating frost cycle tore up highways throughout the area. In the City of North Tonawanda, a plan was unveiled Tuesday that will use additional state funding and new technology to start fixing the damaged roads.
Public Works Superintendent Bradley A. Rowles told the Common Council that repairs have already started.
“We want to get started going early on this. The state did recognize that this was probably one of the most severe winters for road damage in recent history. We were devastated by over 30 inches of frost,” Rowles said. “New York State picked the ball up with, I believe. $44 million in (Consolidated Street and Highway Improvement Program) funding throughout the state. North Tonawanda is thrilled that we are going to get $67,000 extra dollars. That’s a decent main road or a couple of secondaries we can pave that we didn’t expect.”
Rowles added, “This is big. In my 36 years, I’ve never had over a $1 million to work with.”
Mayor Robert G. Ortt told the Council that the city had been planning on about $500,000 from the state, but instead received over $700,000 and then received the additional “CHIPs” money from the state.
“We did have a little rollover money (from 2013) that we’ve actually used to stock up on aggregate for the roads and have been buying a cold-patch material that’s worked well. That money’s been a lifesaver,” Rowles said, adding that improved drainage on roads also protected them from the freeze-thaw cycle.
Rowles said his department has started preparing the roads with temporary hot patch, which will be followed by a technique called “micropave,” which Rowles said is quite effective, putting a thin coating over the patched road. He said micropaving is much cheaper than the decades-old method of “mill and fill” by which the road had to be milled up and then repaved.
Contractors will be called in for some of the larger projects, Rowles said, noting that they do an analysis that makes for better repairs. Most of the roads repaired last year held up very well over the winter, he said. Among the main roads on the list are: Payne Avenue, Nash Road, and Vandervoort, Zimmerman, Thompson and Oliver streets.
“If we get a jump like we are getting here, I want to be wrapping most of these up by September,” Rowles said.
In another matter, City Engineer Dale W. Marshall outlined a $96,000 project to put in a new, larger water line on Christiana Street, between Twin City Highway and Whiting Street. The project, which is expected to be ready to approve at a future board meeting, will increase water flow to nine homes in the area.
There are a lot of old water lines, and when all the homes are using water, they lose pressure, Marshall said, so the city will be looking to replace other lines, as well.
The Council also heard from Richard L. Tindell, director of community development. He said that there is a $200,000 state “microenterprise” block grant available for small businesses with up to five employees. Lumber City Development will administer the grant and process loan requests.
“Even though we’ve made downtown and Oliver Street a higher priority, any other business located anywhere else in North Tonawanda is eligible,” Tindell said. “They have to create at least one job that will be filled by a person of low or moderate income.”
Both existing businesses and new businesses may apply, he said.