That Time Of The Year

Construction projects throughout the city are moving along without any major setbacks so far this summer.

This construction season the Department of Public Works has nearly 80 scheduled projects, which cover everything from major reconstruction of roads and milling, to sealing, brick street preservation and storm drainage improvements.

“The activities in question, many of which are key components of larger, multi-phase efforts, are all scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer/fall season … depending of course, on the weather, final funding availability and the skyrocketing price of petroleum-based construction materials,” said Mayor Sam Teresi.

Some of the major reconstruction areas include Lakeview Avenue between Newton Avenue and Crossman Street, East Fifth Street between Prendergast Avenue and Church Street and Broadhead Avenue between South Main and Kidder streets, as well as sections of the Riverwalk.

“Lakeview Avenue is pretty much on schedule so far,” said Jeff Lehman, director of public works. “We’re going to be looking at starting curb work by July 4, and it will start coming together pretty quickly after that. I’d guess that we’ll be able to have finished by early August.”

According to Lehman, the first round of milling projects is also nearing completion and should be finishing up as soon as there is a break in the weather. The reconstruction of East Fifth Street is slated to begin in the next couple of weeks, with workers already beginning utility work in the area. There have been a few minor delays for workers so far, including a surprise project involving the storm sewer running under the railroad tracks near Crescent Street that delayed some projects for a short time.

“All of our projects are progressing,” said Lehman. “Curbing was supposed to go in on Lakeview Avenue already, but the weather has put a damper on that. Once that’s finished, we’ll be pouring the concrete. We’re also starting to do some work in several of the parks around Jamestown. At Roseland, the park portion is done, and the restrooms are being updated.”

One area in the city that is in need of construction, however, will have to wait for any work to be done on it.

McDaniel Avenue and West Third Street between McDaniel Avenue and Monroe Street are both state highways that are located within the city limits. Although those areas are not numbered, like Route 60 or Route 394, they are still a part of the state arterial highway system.

“Jeff Lehman has been working with our friends at the New York State Department of Transportation to let them know about the dire condition of both roads,” said Teresi. “He’s been working with Darrell Kaminski, the regional director out of Buffalo, as well as the Department of Transportation staff that is based here in Chautauqua County.”

According to Teresi, however, the state does not have West Third Street and McDaniel Avenue on its milling and overlay list until the 2015 construction season, and possibly the 2016 construction season.

“The city does not have several hundred thousand dollars of excess funds to deal with the milling and overlay of a state highway that is the state’s responsibility,” said Teresi. “I will say that the attitude from the state Department of Transportation has been interested, cooperative and helpful up to this time. I wish I had something to report to you that this is being moved up on the schedule to yesterday, but I can’t report that. I can report that this is something that we’re working on with the state, and hopefully we’ll have some positive news for either 2014 or even later this construction season.”

Teresi noted that the state has been extremely accommodating in recent years with regard to maintenance and upkeep on arterial work. Recent projects from the state have included East Second Street, Washington Street, Fluvanna Avenue, Fairmount Avenue and the Washington Street bridge.

“If these were city roadways, we would’ve bumped them to the top of our milling and overlay list at this point and time, but again, these are the responsibility of the state, and we don’t have the local discretionary resources to use in that fashion with so many other roads on the rebuild and maintenance list that are our sole responsibility,” said Teresi. “These are basically the two major state highways that are left that have not been tended to by the state in the past two years, and we’re trying to get this moved up on their schedule.”

Thursday, Lehman told The Post-Journal he hadn’t received any new information to report about the state’s construction schedule.