Tonawanda News — A finalized plan for road work to be conducted by the North Tonawanda Department of Public Works is still weeks away, though several officials say the focus will shift this summer to rehabilitating the city’s secondary thoroughfares.
Common Council President Rich Andres said with many of the city’s main streets serving as the focus for repaving over the last two years, including Ruie Road, Sherwood Avenue and Sweeney Street, ramshackle side streets will now get some much-needed attention, though an exact agenda has yet to be formulated.
“Right now we’re trying to evaluate the streets,” Andres said. “Three and a half years ago a lot of our major roads were pretty beat up. So we’ve been allocating more money on our end.”
DPW Superintendent Brad Rowles said he is currently surveying the city streets before making a pitch to the council later this month, while the recent announcement that North Tonawanda will get a nearly 23 percent increase in state transportation funding will go a long way, officials said.
The state will give the city an additional $136,000 for its roads over last year, from $597,000 to $734,000, as part of a surge of $75 million in funding from the Consolidates Local and Highway Improvement Program, better known as CHIPS, that will head to municipalities across the state. Niagara County as a whole received an additional $6.4 million in funding, the first increase since 2008.
The council also approved bonding $350,000 for 2013, according Mark Dotterweich, city accountant, for a combined total of more than $1 million directed to city roads this year.
The city allocated $797,000 in 2012 for road improvements, with $200,000 of that bonded, Dotterweich added.
Mayor Rob Ortt said once Rowles presents where he believes many of those dollars should be delegated for projects this year, he and the council will go over the proposal with a fine tooth comb before making a final determination.
“We’re going to look at the streets that need to be addressed,” he said. “I anticipate a lot more side streets, there’s work that needs to be done on Payne and more work on Nash and sections of Oliver. Ward has been talked about. You never run out of streets, there’s always more streets that need to be fixed than there is money. But people want to see improvement and progress. And there’s no question that the additional CHIPS money is going to make a big impact.”
Rowles added that the scope of projects may be partly influenced by the price of petroleum, used to make asphalt.
“But we’re going to have a great year,” he said. “The city gave me a great budget so we’re going to do a lot.”Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.