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Lockport mayor won’t close streets; work starts Monday

LOCKPORT – Lockport Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said Thursday the city will not close any of its pothole-riddled streets, because pavement repairs are to begin Monday on some of the worst of them.

McCaffrey said the city can afford to mill off the top 2 inches of the asphalt on parts of nine streets. Villager Construction of Fairport will bring a milling machine to Lockport next week and is to be paid an estimated $68,700 for its work .

The targets include two stretches of Pine Street and parts of Lincoln Avenue, Locust, Willow, Washburn, East High, Gooding and Summit streets. Also, a short stretch of Elmwood Avenue near Washburn was added to the milling list.

“If we weren’t going to mill it, Carter (Hawkes, the Streets Department foreman) thought we should close it,” McCaffrey said.

The notion of street closures was floated at a Common Council work session Wednesday by Alderman John Lombardi III and won the agreement of some of his colleagues. Lombardi argued that leaving drivers to pick their way among the craters would merely lead to more damage claims for auto repairs.

“We are definitively not closing any streets,” McCaffrey declared Thursday. She said she talked Thursday to Hawkes, Engineering and Public Works Director Norman D. Allen and City Treasurer Michael E. White, and they decided that a 2-inch-deep milling job, although not the optimal 6-inch depth, would give presentable results when the streets are repaved.

“Carter is saying we should get five years out of it,” McCaffrey said.

The city will put down fresh asphalt with its new paving machine, which debuted last year on Price Street, Roosevelt Drive, and Beattie and Beverly avenues.

“That new paver worked great. We should get much better results,” the mayor said. “Once we mill it down a couple of inches, it’ll be a much-improved surface.”

Allen said Wednesday the total cost of repaving the nine streets after 2-inch milling, along with repairing utilities such as sewer receivers, would be $483,929. White said Thursday that the city probably can afford it.

He said the city has $723,395 in state Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, or CHIPS, funding. That includes $218,000 rolled over from last year. White said the city still needs to persuade Albany to allow the use of the money for streets such as Willow that were repaved less than 10 years ago with CHIPS funds. Normally, the state bars such repeat work.

White said, “We’re going to continue to hot patch on other streets.” McCaffrey said three aldermen have accepted her invitation to submit top-10 lists of potholes.

Allen had told the Council on Wednesday he was out of money for hot patch material, but White said Allen was unaware of other funding sources.

“I got another $50,000 for him,” White said. That’s being transferred from a capital reserve fund. Also, the city awaits $53,000 in one-time state aid under a pothole relief program in the new state budget.

Another funding source is $7,600 from the auction of former Mayor Michael W. Tucker’s city car. The online bidding for the 2009 Dodge Charger ended Wednesday at the Auctions International website, and the winner was Colby Auto Sales of the Town of Lockport.