Nearly everyone agrees some roads in the Town of Tonawanda are in rough shape after another brutal winter and ongoing infrastructure projects. The problem is a lack of funding to fix all the roads that need it.
The issue came to the fore Monday night when three residents of Cleveland Drive complained to the Town Board about the state of their road.
After a waterline replacement project last year, plans call for repaving half that road this year. But the residents contended both sides are in desperate need of repair.
“Cleveland Drive – I mean water department-wise – we’re 90 percent there,” said Jeff Langenfeld. “Pave the whole road and then it’s done.”
“There’s not money to do that,” replied Kirk Rowland, division head of water and sewer maintenance. After a waterline replacement, Tonawanda actually restores more pavement than most towns, Rowland said.
“It is typical to pave only a foot or two on either side of the trench,” he said.
Highway Superintendent William E. Swanson explained that the cost of materials to mill and pave Cleveland Drive would be about $144,000. The water department, however, has set aside only $70,000 for restoration work on Cleveland.
“We are trying our best but unfortunately if I do that road, I have to pull one of the other worse ones,” Swanson said. “There’s only so much money to go around.”
Swanson said each town street is annually assigned a grade on a scale from one to three, with one being a priority for repaving. He was not ready to release a full list of the streets slated for improvement, but said the list will include Northwood Drive; Parker Boulevard, from Sheridan Drive to Highland Avenue; Montrose Avenue from Cambridge Street to Emsworth Avenue; and Woodgate Road from Jamaica Road to Glenalby Road.
Langenfeld took exception to the inclusion of Northwood on the list. “Not all of Northwood is bad,” he said. “All of Cleveland is bad.”
“It seems odd to me that we spend all this money, taxpayer money, to buy a milling machine but then we have a contractor come in and fix our waterlines and that,” Langenfeld said. “We don’t need them to pave it afterwards. We have the equipment to do that kind of stuff.”
Swanson agreed some town roads were in “rough shape” but that the problem of deteriorating roads is not unique to Tonawanda. Amherst, Cheektowaga and others have similar problems, he said. “Everybody’s got the same issues,” he said.
In other business Monday:
• The board awarded contracts for the fourth – and final – phase of the Parker-Fries Sewer Improvement Project, which is part of a decades-long and townwide sewer update. The $9,522,085 bid by Concrete Applied Technologies Corp. was accepted, along with a $1,175,000 bid by CIR Electrical Construction to install a new pump station generator. The work will affect streets in the Kenilworth neighborhood, including Montrose, Chelsea, Chalmers, Lyndale, Hawthorne, Grandview and University. A start date for the work has not yet been announced.
• The board called for a hearing at its next meeting – May 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers – to consider a proposed update to the town’s comprehensive plan.