NYC City Council Seeks to Compel DOT to Wrap up Roadwork Within Two Weeks of Initiation
By Yehudit Garmaise
In an attempt to ease snarled traffic, restore precious parking spots, and restore many bus routes that must be changed due to the City’s plentiful roadwork, a majority of the City Council’s 51 members have added their names to a bill that seeks to push pressure on the DOT to finish resurfacing street projects within two weeks after the roadwork is started.
For projects that DOT officials think will take longer than two weeks, the bill, sponsored by Brooklyn Council Member Justin Brannan, would require the DOT to notify its expected project timelines and the reasons for its delays to the surrounding communities.
Frustrated New York City residents sick of fighting roadwork on many city streets cheer the bill.
“The roadwork causes insane traffic,” said Yaakov R., “Plus, all the roadwork causes stores to lose money because cars cannot park, nor pass on the streets.“This summer Boro Park saw eight weeks of non-stop roadwork!”
DOT representatives, however, said that many street improvement projects cannot be rushed along.
"Only street projects such as milling, which involves removing asphalt’s surface layer before repaving with blacktop, could likely be done in two weeks," Margaret Forgione, the DOT’s first commissioner, said according to amny.com.
In addition, when the DOT resurfaces roads, the agency must closely coordinate with utility companies to prevent expensive and dangerous mistakes that can result as the DOT’s heavy machinery encounters the complex web of transmission lines underground.
When they go below ground, utilities often discover issues, such as gas or water leaks that require fixes that will keep the roads closed for longer periods of time, Forgione says.
Instead of the DOT just quickly repairing roads and patching over potential problems underground, utility companies must fix any problems that could potentially grow worse and present future safety issues, she explained.
If underground utility issues are not addressed when they are discovered, the DOT will only need to dig up the road again later when a preventable problem arises.
“I’d much rather they take a few extra days and really repair the street right for safety reasons, and not come back in six months, a year, two years, to dig up that fresh road again,” Forgione says. “I would much rather ask the public for patience on the milled roadway than have them, in a few years, get back a lousier street.”