Glove cities team up for better streets

GLOVERSVILLE — City officials plan to focus future efforts toward preventive maintenance once issues with city streets are addressed over the coming months.

The Common Council on Tuesday approved a resolution to solicit sealed bids for the 2019 street paving contract. Bids to repave streets funded through the combined $444,974.24 the city will receive this year from the state Department of Transportation’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program and PAVE-NY will be accepted through June 19 at 10 a.m.

To ensure the longevity of repaved streets, Mayor Vincent DeSantis said the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown plan to work together to coordinate paving schedules with National Grid crews.

“Both cities have to get together and use our joint voices,” DeSantis said. “They are having the same situation with National Grid where sometimes they pave a street and then National Grid comes by and breaks it up, so we’re going to be talking to them directly about coordinating efforts much more closely in the future.”

Department of Public Works Director Dale Trumbull noted that he has been in contact with National Grid working to align this year’s paving schedule with planned utility work.

“As I’m choosing the streets that we’re going to be paving we’re going to be staying out of the areas where they’re digging and a lot of the streets that we select are streets that they have been on, that they’re done with,” Trumbull said. “North Arlington for example is all set and ready to go. If they do come back, it’s going to be an emergency situation.”

Fifth Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli asked if the city has any oversight regarding the quality of work performed by National Grid when services are installed on city streets, citing the recent installation of a gas line along North Main Street.

“I’m glad that they finally put the pipe in and now we can go over the top,” Zarrelli said. “But before they did that as I would go down the street, you could see every time where they dug it up they would make the little square and then patch it in.”

DeSantis said he and Trumbull discussed with Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson and City Engineer Christopher Vose the need to become more vigilant about reviewing utility related roadwork upon completion.

“That’s one of the things that we talked about, because it isn’t National Grid that actually does that excavation, it’s a subcontractor,” DeSantis said. “We have to become more insistent on quality and if anything happens we have to contact them and insist they come back and repair it.”

The council also discussed methods to maintain roads following repaving, with Zarrelli suggesting that greater attention should be paid to filling cracks as they appear and that the city may need to consider repaving projects beyond the scope of the annual CHIPS funding to catch up with needed repairs.

“It doesn’t seem to be keeping up with what we want to do. I know there are some roads we put down that aren’t lasting the 10 years like they should, maybe there are some substrate problems or maybe it’s the formulation or maybe we’re not sealing the cracks in time,” Zarrelli said.

Trumbull agreed, noting that DPW crews have faced challenges so far this year filling cracks and potholes due to the closure of the city-based Callanan Industries asphalt plant, which has forced crews to travel outside of the city to obtain hot asphalt.

“We have been having trouble with it, because we’re traveling to Pattersonville,” Trumbull said. “By the time we get to the end of the truck it’s starting to harden up on us, so we need to come up with a solution to be able to heat this asphalt longer.”

At the council’s request, Trumbull suggested options to combat the cooling materials such as purchasing a hot tar kettle and/or heated truck beds. The city finance committee will review the options during the next meeting on Friday before bringing the information before the full council during a future meeting.

Despite the challenges, Second Ward Councilman Arthur Simonds applauded Trumbull and the DPW’s work filling potholes since the onset of spring.

“I commend you for going out there and making it happen recently, it looks a lot better,” Simonds said.

These efforts will be furthered in the coming months through work to repair 90 catch basins across the city as part of a contract approved by the Common Council during the May 14 meeting.

The city issued a Request for Proposals in March seeking to address the approximately 800 deteriorating catch basins across the city. The masonry holding up the catch basins is composed of bricks likely installed in the 19th century that are collapsing, causing sinkholes in the surrounding street surface.

DeSantis was initially hopeful that the city would be able to replace all of the catch basins in need at once through the RFP, but on Tuesday said that is currently unfeasible and only 90 of the catch basins will be replaced this year through the contract the council awarded to Dan’s Excavation at a cost of $4,875 per catch basin.

Still, DeSantis is optimistic saying that the city’s worst catch basins will be replaced this year, speeding up a multi-year approach to replacing all 800 catch basins that was previously being undertaken by the DPW. In 2018 the DPW aimed to replace 50 catch basins, but the department was only able to complete work replacing 35 units while keeping up with other normal duties.

“We thought that we would get the worst of them, we would catch up on what we had,” DeSantis said of the work that will be completed this year by October or November. “There are 45 of them that already have orange cones on them, they’re the worst ones, and then there are 45 others that Dale has identified.”

Once the catch basins in the worst condition are replaced, DeSantis said in the coming years the city may be able to employ a technique described by representatives with Dan’s Excavation to prevent the deterioration of both catch basins and manholes by injecting a substance into the masonry support structure to resolidify the unit, preventing the possibility of collapse and the resulting sinkholes.

“Dan’s Excavation was very, very knowledgeable about preventive maintenance solutions where we could go into maybe the second year or the third year using some of this new technology that has been developed to prevent the sinking,” DeSantis said. “That’s just one of the possibilities and it can be done for less than half of what it would cost to do the repair, so we’re hoping to talk about that in the future.”

By Patricia Older

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