DOT to do more paving in county

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County officials this summer protested a state Department of Transportation plan to pave only three miles of state highways in the county in coming years, and the state responded with 10 times as many.

But a DOT official today said the matter may have involved miscommunication between the state and the county.

Board of Supervisors Chairman William Waldron told the board Tuesday at the County Office Building he wrote a letter of protest to DOT, and the state has now “revised its list” to include 33 miles of state roads for paving in the future.

County Planning Director James Mraz had told the board’s Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee in August that DOT has made public its Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan, or STIP, for 2014-17. He said STIP is a state listing of DOT projects it intends to use federal funds to pay for.

Mraz said DOT’s Utica-based Region 2 has five counties, including Fulton County. He said 30 of the 35 planned projects in the region are in Oneida and Herkimer counties. He said those two counties are to receive $119 million of the $126 million in work being planned for the region. Meanwhile, he said, the draft STIP only included five projects totaling $6 million for Fulton, Montgomery and Madison counties combined.

Waldron sent a letter to DOT expressing Fulton County’s concerns about a lack of federally funded projects compared to the other counties in Region 2. Copies of the letter were sent to state Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna, and Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport.

DOT Region 2 spokesman Jim Piccola said today that Fulton County officials may have been originally confused by elements of the plan. He said DOT had planned all along to make more projects available.

“There was what we call block funding where there was a whole bunch of projects not specified,” Piccola said. “They didn’t understand there was other funding available.”

Piccola said DOT plans to do about $2.6 million worth of block paving for 22 miles in Fulton County for 2014 alone. He said that work includes Routes 10 and 29.

In another highway matter before the board Tuesday:

Supervisors authorized a $300,000 change order to its existing $1.2 million contract with Hanson Aggregates New York LLC Inc. for a pavement rehabilitation project on Fulton County Highway 110 in the towns of Broadalbin and Northampton.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said no county taxpayer money will be used for the change order, which will come out of State Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funding.

Stead said that after a recent inspection of the initial base course paving, DOT is recommending truing and leveling to “take dips out” of the highway be completed prior to paving the finish top course, at a cost not to exceed $300,000.