County to expand pothole pilot program this year

Road resurfacing to increase by 130 percent

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“One down, 47,000 to go,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, looking down at the pothole she had just filled. Curran worked alongside staffers from the county Department of Public Works on Jan. 23 to fill and pave a small stretch of potholes along The Boulevard in Sea Cliff. She also announced the expansion of the department’s pothole pilot program, which includes short-term pothole repair, long-term resurfacing projects and infrastructure goals for the year.

“As peak pothole season has descended upon us, my team has put an aggressive plan together to get Nassau’s roads back in top-notch condition,” Curran said at the news conference. “Everywhere I go, people ask about roads, and I want to assure everyone we are listening, and one by one we are addressing all of the problems.”

The county is undergoing a roadway sustainability and compliance study to address infrastructure through the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s United Planning Works Program. The study is assessing existing conditions on county-owned roads so DPW staff can prepare long-term plans to maintain them.

The short term

While conducting the study last fall, DPW launched a pilot program to complete short-term and interim resurfacing, which includes milling and filling larger areas of road in anticipation of permanent resurfacing projects. Kenneth Arnold, the county’s commissioner of public works, said the program prevents “repetitive maintenance” from occurring on the same roads year after year.

With the program’s success last year, (see box) Curran said, the DPW plans to expand its work in 2019. This year the department plans to double the number of lanes miles paved and repave 175 lane miles — a 130 percent increase over 2017.

Sea Cliff Village Administrator Bruce Kennedy said the county has been “great partners” in road repair. “In the past year, a huge movement has come forward to re-mill and repave the roads, to redo the walkways [and] to make the area safer and friendlier for not just vehicles, but for pedestrians and bicyclists,” he said of The Boulevard. “Just on this roadway alone, 40 potholes have been filled.”

The long-term

Resurfacing was completed on the North Shore in 2018 at Bayville Road, in Bayville; Piping Rock Road, in Locust Valley; and on portions of Glen Cove-Oyster Bay Road, in Oyster Bay. The 2019 program includes resurfacing of Shore Road and The Boulevard in Sea Cliff. Work is slated to begin this spring. Contracts have already been awarded.

“We are very thankful that the potholes will be addressed,” said District 11 Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, “and we’re also looking forward to doing an entire streetscape for The Boulevard and Shore Road, which is included in the [county’s] capital plan.”

Other roads that will be resurfaced this spring include Cove Neck Road, in Cove Neck; a portion of Berry Hill Road, in Oyster Bay Cove; Cold Spring Road and Underhill Boulevard, in Syosset; and a large portion of Woodbury Road, in Woodbury.

District 18 Legislator Josh Lafazan said, “I’m grateful for the county executive’s commitment to this crucial quality-of-life issue for Nassau County. My constituents in Oyster Bay, Syosset and across the North Shore will be the beneficiaries of this action, and I look forward to seeing the finished product.”

The bidding process

The department plans to change its bidding process for resurfacing contracts, too. “Historically, our DPW has bid multiple $4 million to $5 million resurfacing contracts, and we had three phases in construction going on at the same time around the county,” Curran said. “This year we are bundling these phases into a single, bigger contract.”

Curran said DPW will bid a $15 million road-resurfacing contract to solicit interest from new firms capable of completing larger projects, thus expanding the vendor pool. The new contract will also include incentives for the firm selected to complete the resurfacing of more than 60 lane miles during the 2019 paving season. The remaining 112 lane miles, Curran said, would be completed by smaller contractors.

“We’re beginning the hard work of reinvesting in our infrastructure to make sure when people are going to work, they can get there, and their car is safe,” Curran said. “A very basic function of municipal government is to have sound roads, and we’re rebuilding our infrastructure and our roads so that people can rely on them.”