City street conditions a concern

Finding a smooth stretch of road to drive on is becoming a bit problematic for drivers in the local area, city of Dunkirk Common Council members included.

Councilman Michael Michalski asked about city street work during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Some of the streets we had done in the fall on the paving, they’re getting pretty beat up. … My concern is going into the spring, is that something we’re going to have to repair ourselves or is that something the contractor is going to come in to repair when they put on the final coat?” Michalski asked Public Works Director Tony Gugino.

Gugino explained the hot-in-place paving program the city undertook in late fall is normally a two-step process.

“Due to the weather and time on the calendar running out it was known that we probably wouldn’t get the top-coat application done before winter. So this spring when we do our street-paving list, all the streets that were on the hot-in-place schedule will be the first ones to be remediated with regular paving, the overlay,” Gugino added. “It’s not unexpected that some of them broke apart and they will be addressed with the first application of top coating.”

Michalski asked if that work would be done at the contractor’s expense but was told the city will pick up the tab.

“That contractor did everything he was supposed to do,” Gugino explained. “It’s going to be part of our paving program … under CHIPS.”

Gugino said the city has a “pretty ambitious program” and he would like to start as soon as possible.

After the meeting Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was asked about a suggestion made during budget hearings by Streets Supervisor Mike Porpiglia that the city could use state CHIPS money to buy a paver.

“That’s most definitely something that we’re studying internally. Street Supervisor Porpiglia, the DPW director and (DPW engineer Randy Woodbury) are studying that and putting together a package for (Fiscal Affairs Officer Rich Halas) and I to review and come up with a plan,” Dolce replied. “We feel, initially at least, that we could run a much-more efficient program if we had our own machinery. We wouldn’t be subject to one fell swoop. We would be able to address the program over, if we’re lucky, six maybe even seven months of the year and slowly tackle and start to turn the tide on the road conditions.”

Dolce added a paver would also help with what has been a major problem this winter – fixing roads after water leaks are repaired.

“You’re throwing cold patch down, that comes up real quick. If we had this we would be able to put in a more permanent solution right away and it wouldn’t really affect the drivers,” he stated. “It’s something we’re excited about. We need to do some more research before we commit.”

Dolce was asked if the city is getting many complaints about street conditions.

“Surprisingly, not many. We know they’re in poor condition but again, this time of year with only cold patch available, it’s really not worth investing money or at least significant money, in cold patch knowing it can come up right away.

“We do have a plan we want to start in the spring. If we do purchase our own equipment that is a lengthy process so what we would do is finish the streets that we started last year plus do some HUD approved streets. Then when our machinery is in, if this is what we do, then do as much as we can afterwards, but we would at least do those streets this year.”

Dolce said people can call his office (366-9881) or DPW (366-9832) to report large potholes or other street concerns.

“We have thrown down cold patch, I don’t want to give the impression that we don’t, but it’s just not something we want or should spend a significant amount of money on.”

If it snows enough drivers will have a bit of a smoother ride, until the weather warms up again.

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