City Mulls 3-Year $4.5M Street Repaving Plan, Hoping to Kick-off Work This Summer

Several of the roads planned for 2024 sit in Indian Village, a low-lying residential neighborhood accustomed to flooding.

Published March 21, 2024 7:15 PM
4 min read

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The city is considering moving to a three-year road resurfacing plan instead of the traditional one-year program, hoping to add flexibility and cost-savings at the start of $9 million worth of road repairs.

Agreeing to a multi-year deal would allow the city to better coordinate with utility companies, maximize flexibility in planning which roads to resurface, and cast a wider net when hiring contractors by offering more work – possibly receiving better cost estimates, according to Gordon Dering of VHB, a civil engineering and design firm.

As part of the proposal, the 2024 work would focus on the worst roads in the northern part of the city, while in 2025 and 2026 the city would target the southern portion. Repairing some roads had to be postponed due to sched- uled utility work, Dering said.

Several of the roads planned for 2024 sit in Indian Village, a low-lying residential neighborhood accustomed to flooding. One of the worst roadways in that area is Highland Road, which intersects with Purchase Street beneath I-95.

“You can see Highland (Road) in particular, it’s an old concrete road that has gotten a lot worse,” said City Manager Greg Usry.

The proposal, which would cost $4.5 million, or $1.5 million annually, is expected to be fully funded through state grants and aid, said Usry.

“We have identified $1.5 million just in grant monies (this year) that have to be used,” Usry said. “But we are confident in the next three years we’ll continue to receive the state grant monies.”

The contract is expected to be approved by May and road repairs, according to the city manager, would likely begin in late July. The proposal still requires the approval of the City Council.

While there is plenty of road-work to be done, the city’s street infrastructure is in good shape, with less than a mile of roadway needing the most significant work, Dering said.

Roadwork: Highland Road (above) is marked as one of the worst roads in Rye. Based on a preliminary plan, the Indian Village street would be resurfaced in 2024.

“Those roads are still out there, they do still need work,” Dering said. “That’s why we’re planning a continued program.”

Mark DiMassimo — a resident of Kirby Lane North, which is one of the roads slated for resurfacing this year — said a sewer project roughly 10 years ago lifted up a portion of the street that routinely flooded.

“The road was repaved then and has been repaved since, so it’s actually in really good shape,” he said. “So currently, no complaints.”

The condition of a road is based on a national survey known as the pavement condition index, which is a numerical rating system from 0 to 100 — the higher the number, the better the condition of the road.

Originally developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as an airfield pavement rating system, the PCI is widely used today in civil engineering and transportation circles to measure the performance of road infrastructure.

A PCI score below 60 means “you’re kind of in trouble,” Dering said.

The lowest rated roads in Rye that have a PCI value between 54 and 66 would be addressed. But roughly 26 miles of the city’s roads, about half of all roads, have a PCI value of 90 or above. The average score across the city is 85.

By comparison, VHB surveyed dozens of Northeast communities, roughly five years ago, and found the average PCI rating was 77.

“We had probably 50 to 60 communities that we had information for,” Dering said. “So, an 85 in the Northeast is very good. It’s above average.”

Through a wider lens, New York state hasn’t fared nearly as well. According to a March report from Consumer Affairs, using data from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the Empire State has some of the worst roads in the U.S. New York — with 30 percent of its urban roads rated in poor condition — ranked sixth worst based on road safety and quality, behind only Rhode Island, Hawaii, California, Louisiana, and Wisconsin.

In Rye, city officials have made it a habit, in recent years, of making significant investments in road resurfacing.

In 2018, the City Council decided to prioritize roads, beginning an annual program of investing roughly $1.5 million toward repairs, according to Usry. That followed a period after the 2007 economic recession where the city — concerned about finances — curbed its spending.

“There was less money being spent on roads and that deferred maintenance cost us more to catch up,” Usry told The Record.

The city budgeted roughly $600,000 for road repairs in 2024. But thanks to the $1.5 million in grant and aid money, the city was able to reallocate its own funding toward city vehicle maintenance.

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