Patience urged with road work

GLOVERSVILLE – City officials, who have received complaints about the asphalt and stone that crews have been spreading on city streets, are asking people to be patient as the asphalt cures and the roads get smoother.

“You have to give us a bit of time. Unfortunately, hot-mix asphalt is just instant gratification; we come through, lay it down, it’s done. This is a longer process. There is a bit of curing time and patience,” city Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones said Thursday.

In recent days, the city has been applying what’s known in the paving industry as oil and stone to city streets instead of paving the streets with asphalt. The oil, said Jones, is actually an emulsified asphalt. Crews have been spraying the asphalt on the streets and then spreading stone over it.

The last of Gloversville’s road treatments should be completed by the end of today, Jones said. Next week, the city will start to sweep the streets, picking up loose stones and filling in spots with the finer stones.

“The Kingsboro, East State and Gregory Street got the base course done on them [Thursday] and they will go back [today] and put the surface course on,” Jones said Thursday.

Jones said asphalt and stone treatment is more economical compared to the price of asphalt for paving.

The paving costs have gone up because of new guidelines related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidelines require any federally funded resurfacing project that alters the road to include sidewalk improvements on corners. If the city were to pave the streets, the city would have to alter the sidewalks and curbing at intersections to make them handicapped-accessible.

Improving the sidewalks would increase the project cost, reducing the number of streets the city could repair by half.

After paving 14 streets in 2013, the city was looking at paving only about five streets this year because of the sidewalk requirements, Jones said in June.

Last year, Jones said, the city received about $360,000 in state Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program funding, which is filtered down from the federal government.

This year, he said, for about the same amount of funding, crews will improve roughly 20 sections of road by using oil and stone instead of asphalt.

Jones said the city will complete roughly 40 percent more work than last year with the same amount of money.

“I think you have to look at the square yardage. If you just look at the number of streets, it does not look that big.” Jones said. “But if you bear in mind we just did a section of Kingsboro Avenue that’s 40 feet wide and a mile long, that’s six or eight Montgomery streets. In square footage, area wise, we got a lot more done.”

Jones said he did not yet have the square yardage figures for this year’s work.

Jones and Mayor Dayton King both said they have received complaints from residents about dust.

The city also received a complaint at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting.

Tony Barone of Fox Street said at the meeting, “I rode down Prospect Avenue and couldn’t see the cars ahead of me because of the dirt.”

Jones said the dust and grime from the stone will go away.

Rain will clean the stone and prevent dust, he said, and as the asphalt cures and rises, the stone will stick to the road.

He said motorists will see a big difference in about three weeks. Ultimately, he said, people will see little difference between this process and paved roads.

Jones said residents may be stunned by the project because the city hasn’t used this process in 30 or 35 years. He said the city used to apply oil that required weeks to set, but the city is using a new type of emulsified asphalt that makes the process easier and faster.

He said there will be no problems with snowplowing in the winter because the streets will be fully cured by then.

Jones said the asphalt and stone process is an acceptable alternative to paving, and the city won’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on changing sidewalk corners.

He said sidewalk requirements are new this year. He referred to them as having the appearance of an “unfunded federal mandate.”

Leader-Herald managing editor Tim Fonda contributed to this report.