By Michael Regan email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — With a higher-than-usual budget, the North Tonawanda Department of Public Works has begun digging out of a winter that battered area roadways.
But Highway Superintendent Brad Rowles said despite the challenges presented by the elongated and harsh season, the extra funding he received will go a long way toward residents seeing real changes on city streets this year.
An increase in state funds and about $300,000 left over from the 2013 road budget, has bumped up Rowles allotment to $1.1 million. His department received $735,000 in state funds from the New York Consolidated Street and Highway Improvement Program and another $67,000 in emergency monies.
Over the last three years, the city has poured about $2.5 million into its streets with the target of bringing many of its main roads up to par. Rowles said many of those projects have already been completed, with the department’s sights now set on secondary roadways.
In April, the DPW first focused on temporary measures filling in potholes, then switched its attention to “spot paving,” he said, at the intersections of Ward Road and Payne Avenue and Wheatfield Street and the Twin Cities Memorial Highway.
“Those are the most time consuming with high traffic counts,” he said. “We were trying to get those done early before the kids get out of school.”
But with the bulk of those projects now finished, the department has already moved on to side streets, which were largely split up evenly between the First, Second and Third wards.
And while work has been going on for nearly two months, North Tonawanda City Hall this week released its summer list of roads slated for repair and repaving this summer.
Moll Street, which has often been the topic of complaints due to flooding issues, was the first of those to be targeted as the DPW wrapped up a section of Payne Avenue, and Nash and Ward roads.
“The First Ward is now 50 percent complete,” Rowles said. “The Second Ward is at the same point and the Third Ward is about 30 percent complete. As far as the main roads, we only have one more section of Nash Road to do. Once that is behind us we’ll turn all our attention to the secondaries.”
Mayor Rob Ortt said the council is also pushing to add to its list of roadways should the weather hold into the late fall season.
“It’s a list that is never complete,” he said, in an interview this week. “We’re going to work with it and see how much we can get done.”
Rowles said in his third year in charge of the department, he is now able to move to a “pavement management” scenario.
“There’s ways that I can start eliminating the major problems now that we’re beginning to catch up,” he said. “Now we can start addressing the smaller problems that might not require as much work. We’re feeling like we’re really getting ahead of this and it wasn’t just paving either. We’re starting to tie in drainage issues. I think everybody is going to be surprised how good things look by the end of the season.”