City road repair work getting closer

The city of Dunkirk needs a lot of work on its roads – as does most of the country that went through the tough winter of 2013-14. During Common Council’s meeting Tuesday, road needs and when they will be addressed were a concern.

With Department of Public Works Director Tony Gugino not present, Councilwoman Stacy Szukala asked Mayor Anthony J. Dolce if the street paving list for 2014 was completed. Dolce said the city has met with federal Housing and Urban Development Department officials on the use of Community Development Block Grant funds for designated streets in the city.

“The list is almost finalized and ready to go out to bid,” Dolce said. “We of course will be topping the streets that we did the hot-in-place on last year and there will be a focus. One of our target areas is Washington Park, so you will see a focus in that area too.”

Szukala asked if the list will be made public and Dolce replied that it always is.

Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak asked Dolce if he was aware of serious potholes, citing Sixth and Washington and Central Avenue in front of the Big Dipper. Dolce said the city is aware of both, adding the one by the Big Dipper is the result of sewer main issues.

“We fixed one on Doughty last week, we’re wrapping up one by the Clarion now,” he added. “From there, there is one on the corner of Fourth and Woodrow. … That might be next over the one on Central.”

“Do you think at this time we should be putting barriers or something to prevent people from perhaps endangering themselves or their vehicles?” Kiyak then asked.

“I talked to our engineer and he mentioned possibly putting a sign up notifying the public that it is upcoming. He didn’t feel that that was definitely necessary,” Dolce replied. “What needs to happen is it needs to be dug out. There’s also one by Holy Trinity.”

Kiyak said council members have been receiving numerous complaints about the road conditions and asked for a list of what will be repaired first. Dolce told her that will be done when the list is ready.

After the meeting Dolce was asked how much longer before the list is finalized.

“What we’re waiting on is some approval from HUD, because the majority of our paving will fall within HUD-qualified areas. So we’re really waiting on approval of our 2014 action plan and we then can do that, we can go out to bid,” he replied. “We’re already starting to work on the pre-required environmentals of certain targets. There’s about four or five environmentals we have to do, so we started the legwork on that.”

Dolce was asked if the recent winter season was part of the problem.

“Most definitely, and with a winter like this they’re even more susceptible, so it’s taken us quite some time to get to all the potholes too. There’s more of them,” he replied. “The guys did a little on Second Street and then they went to North Roberts. It’s ongoing, but you couple that with when we’re finally able to get the streets, things will turn around. We appreciate the public being patient.

“The other thing that Councilwoman Kiyak alluded to with the dips, we also have some sewer mains that are our responsibility, so those require digs. It’s just one thing after another and we’re just prioritizing them and getting to them when we can.”

Dolce said the Millennium Parkway project was on schedule but suffered a setback Tuesday when contractors hit a 20-inch water main, requiring extended assistance from the city. He was asked if the city will be reimbursed for its efforts.

“Those will be discussions that will take place. There’s definitely a cost when something like that happens and with the shortages that we’ve been dealing with, it’s just another thing that you do what you can,” he replied.

Dolce told council during the meeting that the timeline for the seawall construction includes the mobilization of crews on July 20 with demolition starting the first week of August. A six-month construction period is scheduled.

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