2017-11-09 / News

First phase of road project done

BY TIM RIEL

While some residents have conveyed their complaints to workers through car windows, Town Administrator Andy Nota said the multi-year project on North Main Road will save taxpayers about $2.5 million.

“Would you want to quadruple the cost just to finish a job six months sooner?” he asked rhetorically at Monday night’s council meeting.

Nota updated the councilors on the five-year project that commenced in spring 2016 to improve drainage from Laurel Lane to Route 138. That first phase, which included 3,000 feet of pipe installation and trench excavation 3 feet deep, ended last Thursday with paving.

The work, which cost roughly $400,000, reclaimed the road from West Reach Drive south to Godena Farm. Town Engineer Mike Gray supervised crews from his public works department. Also, because there are qualified operators on Gray’s staff, the town was able to rent excavators instead of outsourcing the work that needed heavy machinery.

“We are one of the few communities that take on projects of this magnitude,” Nota said. “Most towns would just bid that out.”

According to Nota, a conservative estimate revealed a $2.5 million price tag at the beginning of the process, which would have required bond authorization. Following 25 years of interest payments, he said, the project would be close to costing $4 million. By doing the work in-house, however, the project is estimated to cost $940,000. After the first of the three phases, Gray said, the project is on budget.

“There is a method to our madness,” Nota said.

Despite the cost savings, Nota said that drivers have been yelling “derogatory and demeaning” terms at workers.

“They don’t deserve that,” he said. “It wasn’t their decision to do the project. They are working to save the community millions of dollars. They should not have to endure that.”

While the project originally was expected to finish with a pedestrian path in 2020, Nota said the town is crossing its fingers for a 2019 culmination. The second phase, which will be similar to the first phase but on a different section of road, will start in the spring with drainage work from Godena Farm to Route 138. This design will include 22 catch basins and 3,500 linear feet of piping.

After that work is completed by the end of summer, the town had planned to wait until 2019 to reconstruct the road and pave it. However, Nota said, the town now is considering a flowable fill that settles more quickly, which would allow workers to pave the section next fall instead of waiting until the following spring.

“We are still acquiring cost information, but we probably can accelerate the paving,” he said.

The third and final phase, a pedestrian path, will create a safe haven for walkers, runner and cyclists who live north of the reservoir, especially for children in the Jamestown Shores neighborhood. That path will link to the North Pond trail network that leads to Eldred Avenue.

While Nota chastised unruly motorists, he said the majority of residents have been supportive of this project.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “But you have to tolerate the timeline.”

Kristine Trocki, council president, commended Nota and Gray for their “fiscal prudence.”

“Thanks for thinking outside the box,” she said.

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