October 23, 2021

Paving, road repairs to resume after limited work in 2020

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Cracks on Franklin Street on Thursday show where the city hopes it can get back to repairing streets. Financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession that accompanied it forced many municipalities to scale back street repair in 2020.

A year after the coronavirus took hold of the county and limited road work because of financial restraints, public works departments are looking to resume paving and fixing roads.

In Cortlandville, most of the larger, frequently traveled roads are in good shape, so the town will focus on smaller roads repaved this year, said Highway Superintendent Larry Drach. These include Bond, Sleepy Hollow and Bowling Green roads.

The roads aren’t undrivable or feature large potholes but the work is meant to protect them for the future, he said. “Overall, our roads are in good shape.”

The town faced a 20% reduction last year from the state Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, which helps cover the cost of infrastructure projects in municipalities, Drach said. After potentially facing reduced funding up to $50,000, Drach said funding will likely only be down about $10,000 to $15,000 this year.

Planned projects

Cortland roads tentatively scheduled to be worked on this year:

  • Pleasant Street
  • Floral Avenue
  • Delaware Avenue
  • Plaza Drive
  • Wadsworth Street
  • Franklin Street
  • Salisbury Street
  • Excelsior Street
  • Van Hoesen Street
  • Groton Avenue (from Ellwood Avenue to the city line)
  • Owego Street (as part of sewer line replacement project)
  • North Greenbush and Washington streets (water main replacements)

The town did some work last year, but plans to return to a more normal schedule this year.

Two of the few roads worked on last year were Halstead and Homestead drives as they were in bad shape, Town Supervisor Tom Williams said.

Cortland also plans more road projects this year, said Nic Dovi, the deputy superintendent of the city Department of Public Works.

Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin previously said the city received almost $1 million less from CHIPS in revenue that was budgeted for street projects. The $2.05 million in funding the city is set to receive over 2021 and 2022 as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan could help fill in lost funding.

CHiPS funding reductions, along with other city budget cuts due to the pandemic, caused the department to furlough six employees and hold off work from April to the beginning of August, Dovi said.

This year, the city plans to repave and work on streets it planned to last year but couldn’t, including Pleasant Street, Floral Avenue, Delaware Avenue, Plaza Drive and Wadsworth Street.

About 13 streets in total will have work done on them this year, Dovi said. Milling of streets will begin in May and paving will take place later in the summer.

Additionally, all streets that are being repaved are streets the city has also targeted for other underground infrastructure work, such as replacing or repairing water or sewer pipes.

Dovi said it was “good to get back” to paving and other roadwork.

“Your job is year-round but it changes with the seasons,” he said.