Schenectady County

Paving project to keep Route 5 young

Motorists driving along Route 5 in the town of Amsterdam may wonder why contractors are repaving the

Motorists driving along Route 5 in the town of Amsterdam may wonder why contractors are repaving the highway — it’s a smooth ride without potholes, dips and other things that people notice when driving.

People have already called the state Department of Transportation wondering why the state is spending money fixing up a decent road.

When they call, DOT spokeswoman Alice Romanych tells them that in the long run, the work will actually save money.

Contractors are resurfacing Route 5 from the eastern border of Montgomery County up to the city of Amsterdam and from the western edge of Amsterdam through Tribes Hill, Romanych said.

The project is a microsurfacing effort expected to preserve the roadway, rated at a seven out of 10, Romanych said.

“We have good pavement here, and what we’re trying to do is keep it good,” Romanych said.

Microsurfacing entails laying down a new top coat of asphalt that restores the surface of the road while sealing it to prevent damage from water, Romanych said.

“If we can do this at the appropriate time on all of our good pavements, then the point where we would have to do a reconstruction or do a major repaving is postponed by years,” Romanych said.

According to the Web site of The Gorman Group, which owns the Cady Co. of Amsterdam that’s doing the work, microsurfacing material contains a polymer-modified asphalt, filler and water. It’s applied in two passes, one to smooth out irregularities and the other to finish the surface.

In most conditions, roads can take on traffic within an hour of application.

The rising price of oil, a primary ingredient in asphalt, is forcing municipalities to concentrate on maintaining good roads, said John Curley, a sales representative at the Cady Co., which builds roads from Maine to North Carolina.

“Everybody’s in the same boat. Towns are hurting for money and they can’t afford to really do much, so you preserve the ones that are in decent shape and maybe increase their condition [rating] even one or two points,” Curley said.

“It’s probably about half the cost of a conventional hot mix overlay,” Curley said.

Curley said that in April of 2006, a ton of asphalt cost $283. This month, it’s $450 per ton.

Rebuilding a roadway costs between $600,000 and $1 million per mile, and it costs about $21,000 a mile for resurfacing, Romanych said.

The total project covers a 12-mile distance on both sides of the city and taking lanes into account covers 52.8 lane-miles of work, Romanych said.

“When you can do the job right the first time, then maintaining that is a much easier proposition,” Romanych said.

According to 2006 traffic counts, the portion of Route 5 from Stoners Trail Road through Tribes Hill is traveled by about 5,000 cars per day, Romanych said.

The portion between Route 67 and Amsterdam sees about 12,000 cars daily. Between Schenectady and Amsterdam, Route 5 sees between 10,000 and 13,000 cars per day, Romanych said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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