Tonawanda News

July 7, 2013

Riding roughshod

NT's road plan for the summer 
to address last of major repairs

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — With months of wet weather and a budgetary framework of $900,000 to pave 10 miles of streets in North Tonawanda by the end of the year, new technology will allow the city to push its completion deadline through, even during colder months, allowing those roadblocks to fall by the wayside. 

This according to Brad Rowles, Department of Public Works supervisor, who said a lower-temperature asphalt that remains workable even in frigid temperatures will keep his crews working late into the fall, along with the fact that the city now recycles and reuses much of the pavement through a novel milling process, which also means a hearty chunk of the work will add a cost-savings aspect. 

“We’re just trying to crunch them in as quick as we can and trying to get the most bang for our buck,” Rowles said. “That is the three-year plan. This is the third year of our three-year plan. By the end of this paving season, if you drive down the main streets in the City of North Tonawanda, it’s going to be a pretty smooth ride.” 

When 2013 comes to an end, North Tonawanda will have spent more than $2 million over the last three years — about half of which was funded through federal dollars — to fix its ailing roads, a year-by-year process that has pitted the needs of its constituents against the city’s budgetary boundaries. 

Common Council members point to the million poured into the city’s infrastructure as an example of city governance aggressively moving to turn around the bumps, holes and divots that have in the past become somewhat synonymous with the Lumber City. 

Council President Rich Andres said many members of the current council as well as Mayor Rob Ortt made a concerted effort to put an emphasis on making its main streets sounds. 

“We ran on a platform of improving the roads and infrastructure in the city,” Andres said. “You’re never going really going to be done with (repaving) but we really wanted to make some progress.” 

This year’s total was split almost evenly among the First, Second and Third wards, with more than 10 miles of roads set to be fixed this summer. Overall, by the end of the year, officials say, 25 miles will have been paved since the beginning of 2011, allowing plans for future road work to be set aside for the less trafficked side streets. 

Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka said there is also a high likelihood that there will funds left over, which could bring attention to some of the rougher secondary thoroughfares in his district, like Wilson and Fairmont avenues. 

“It’s especially true in the Third Ward,” he said. “The secondaries haven’t been forgotten, but we had to set some of them aside until next year to maximize the streets we get done with the money we had. If I could get three streets done compared with one street, I was able to yield a greater good and a greater outcome by prioritizing.” 

Andres said he believes that many of the trouble spots in the city’s 114 miles of roads already have been tackled, like parts of Payne Avenue and Sweeney Street, while Wheatfield Street and Ward Road will be in much better shape by the end of the year. 

“People are seeing some real gains,” he said. “Those traveling around the city will have a much better experience than they had a short time ago”.

North Tonawanda 2013 paving list First Ward Center Avenue - Oliver Street to Ironton Street 14th Avenue - Oliver Street to Carr Street Fredericka - Oliver Street to Payne Avenue Ward Street - Ruie Road to Warner Street Payne Avenue - Meadow Drive to 16th Avenue Wheatfield Street - River Road to Rail Road Tracks Second Ward Spruce Street - East Thompson Street to Rumbold Street Wheatfield Street - Payne Street to Twin Cities highway Barrelly Street - Walck Road to Hewitt Street Bryant Street - Thompson Street to Hewitt Street Tremont Street - Vandervoort Street to Oliver Street Christiana Street - Payne Avenue to Falconer Street Niagara Street - Thompson Street to Tremont Street Third Ward Sweeney Street - East Robinson Street to Old Falls Street Park Street - Zimmerman Street to Dead End Walck Road - Villas at Deerwood Street to "S" Curve Wall Street - Fillner Street to Eddy Drive Nash Road - Ruie Road to Deerfield Street Pioneer Drive - Wayne Street to Nash Road Eddy Drive - Wall Street to Erie Avenue

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.