Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Few major road improvement projects will be undertaken in eastern Niagara County this year, according to local highway chiefs.
The biggie for Niagara County is reconstruction of Stone Road, Lockport, between Johnson and Cambria-Lockport Townline roads. It’s an estimated $2 million project to restore roadway that’s been pounded away by increased truck traffic, according to Mike Tracy, deputy commissioner of public works.
Bids for the construction work are to be unsealed in mid-April. Construction should start in June and major work could be wrapped up in the fall, Tracy said this week.
In Middleport, North Main Street/Stone Road, between the canal lift bridge and Ridge Road, and the stretch of Griswold Street between Rochester and Graham roads, will be pulled up and replaced as well.
The county plans to replace North Main Street entirely, meaning mill the existing road, discard the old and put down new asphalt; and employ “cold recycling” to refurbish Stone and Griswold, meaning mill the surfaces and recycle broken-up material in place.
Sections of Hess and Charlotteville roads in Newfane are candidates for repaving, but according to Tracy the 2013 project list won’t be final until biennial rating of all county roads is done in late April. “Worst first” is a consideration when the list is drafted, he said.
The state Department of Transportation is planning repaving of Route 93 throughout Royalton and Lockport, and Route 18 in Wilson and Newfane, this year.
Eleven lane-miles of Lake Road — between Route 425, Wilson, and West Main Street, Olcott — will be resurfaced near the end of summer, at an approximate cost of $275,000, D.O.T. spokeswoman Susan Surdej said. Twenty-one lane miles of Route 93 will be resurfaced at an estimated cost of $800,000.
Also, DOT is having guide rail upgrades done along the same stretch of 93, plus all of Route 425, at an approximate cost of $800,000, Surdej said.
Remaining major DOT projects in Niagara County are the ongoing, $920,000 traffic signal replacement effort on the Twin Cities Highway in North Tonawanda, which started last year and picks up again next month; and replacement of the I-190 bridge over Buffalo Avenue in Niagara Falls. Work on the $7.5 million bridge project will begin in May and end in December 2014.
A survey of area town highway superintendents indicates they’ll direct more man hours this year to “microsurfacing,” meaning application of a very thin overlay on roads that are in good condition.
According to Pendleton Highway Superintendent Jeff Stowell, the rapid-set treatment helps preserve roads and, because the coating is so thin, road height is hardly raised.
When the treatment is applied every few years on a road that’s rated average-to-good, say 5 to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, the road should last longer, he said.
Microsurfacing is an element of the Pendleton town board’s five-year plan for town highway maintenance. Two roads, Meyer Road between Campbell Boulevard and Beach Ridge Road, and all of Irish Road, were selected for the treatment this year. There are no road rebuilding plans on the books in the upcoming construction season.
“This is kind of an odd year out, so we’re going to follow the (five-year) program to a T,” Stowell said.
The Cambria Highway Department is planning microsurfacing work around the town in July and August, highway superintendent Jon MacSwan said.
Before that, Cambria and Old Shawnee roads will be repaved entirely and new shoulders will be installed, tentatively in June. Affected homeowners will receive information fliers ahead of the start of work on each road, MacSwan said; those jobs will take a minimum of two days each.
Paving is the order of the season for the highway departments in Newfane and Middleport as well, their superintendents said.
In Wilson, public works is focused first on a walking/bike path project to connect the village and Wilson Harbor in the town. The approximately 2,300-foot paved path will extend from Lake Road down Park Street to Shore Drive and split into two paths leading to Wilson Harbor and O’Connell Island. According to Town Supervisor Joe Jastrzemski, the walkway encourage boaters to explore Wilson’s commercial district.
The walking/bike path project tab is $125,000, most of which is covered by a $90,000 Niagara River Greenway grant.
Construction should start in early May and wrap up by early summer, Jastrzemski said.
The City of Lockport’s road work plan for the year won’t be finalized until next week, Director of Engineering Norman Allen said. The streets department has redirected resources to rebuilding the worst streets, and doing targeted pavement repairs, in recent years.
The state assembly approved the 2013-2014 New York State budget on Thursday, and the fiscal plan contains increased “Chips” funding for all local municipalities.
Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funding goes to counties, cities, towns and villages for use in repairing local roads and bridges and purchasing heavy equipment.
The state budget contains a $75 million increase in overall CHIP funding, making for the first increase in that line since 2008-2009.
Municipalities within Niagara County will see their CHIP funding raised by $6.4 million. Here’s a partial breakdown of the increases, provided by the office of state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane.
• Niagara County: Up $309,000/17 percent, to $2.17 million CHIP funding.
• City of Lockport: Up $104,000/22 percent, to $567,000.
• Town of Cambria: Up $15,000/27 percent increase, to $71,000.
• Town of Hartland: Up $29,000/28 percent, to $135,000.
• Town of Lockport: Up $34,000/27 percent, to $159,000.
• Town of Pendleton: Up $11,000/25 percent, to $57,000.
• Town of Royalton: Up $45,000/29 percent, to $200,000.
• Town of Somerset: Up $19,000/28 percent, to $89,000.
• Town of Wilson: Up $21,000/27 percent, to $100,000.
• Village of Barker: Up $1,787/26 percent, to $8,700.
• Village of Middleport: Up $6,600/25 percent, to $33,000.
• Village of Wilson: Up $4,300/27 percent, to $20,000.