Road project pricier than expected

Every time a truck drives over a pot hole on Church Street, Susan Blazejewski said the windows on he

Every time a truck drives over a pot hole on Church Street, Susan Blazejewski said the windows on her coffee shop rattle.

Blazejewski, who owns the Go Where I’ve Bean coffee shop has dealt with the Church Street reconstruction project for months and said she is disappointed it’s not complete yet.

“I hope the project gets finished,” she said. “It’s disappointing to know that something is going to be improved and have it incomplete.”

Common Council members learned this week that the project’s completion could run more than $300,000 over the project’s budget. According to acting City Engineer Ray Halgas, reconstruction of Church Street from Five Corners to the city line was budgeted at $416,000 — $270,000 from a state multi-modal grant, $140,000 from a state highway improvement program and $6,000 from the city.

Halgas said the $270,000 was going to be used for curbing and sidewalk improvements. Currently the city has an unpaid bill for $363,000 from Delsignore Paving, the contractor who completed the sidewalk and curbing work. Halgas said Delsignore did additional feet of curbing and additional square feet of sidewalk and repaired catch basins. All the additional work wasn’t specified in the original contract, but recognized as needed once the street was torn up.

The Church Street project was overseen by the previous city engineer Michael Clark, who left the position at the end of last year. According to Alderman William Wills, D-4th Ward, there was never a formal contract signed with Delsignore.

“I feel like we’re responsible,” he said. “The company did what was implied. They put down the concrete because we told them to.”

Halgas said Common Council members have to decide how much more work they want to invest in repairing Church Street to complete the project.

Church Street, which is part of Route 67, is a main state road that many use as a connector from the Thruway to the Northway. Halgas said the road receives a lot of wear because of truck traffic. He said the infrastructure under the road, including water mains, catch basins and sewer pipes, is aging and needs work. He said addressing those aspects before repaving the road would prolong the road’s life, but also cost more money.

“As acting city engineer, I know the project has to be completed, but there are different options for the council,” Halgas said. “They need to know how they’d like to proceed so there isn’t any fingerpointing in the end.”

Halgas said the city could use money from the state’s Comprehensive Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) to fund the Church Street project. The city usually uses that money to repair various city streets. Last year, the city spent about $600,000 and paved 3.1 miles of street, Halgas said.

Alderman Richard Leggiero, R-5th Ward, chairman of the council’s public works committee, said he is in favor of reconstructing the road as Halgas recommends.

“There is no sense putting a Band-Aid on anything,” he said “The best thing to do is do it and do it right.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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