Wednesday, July 19, 2006

DPW To Get Road Equipment

City employees will soon be able to make road repairs that could help stave off costly reconstruction.

Though only about six square miles in size, the city has more than 100 miles of road, some county-owned. Due to neglect, many city roads fell into disrepair and now are in poor to very poor condition. The city has begun a five-year, $75 million program of repairs for the worst roads, which may be milled and resurfaced or totally reconstructed.

The City Council approved a plan last year for the Public Works Division to acquire equipment that would allow workers to make repairs that would keep better roads in decent shape. Tonight (Wednesday, July 19, 2006), the council is expected to approve bid awards for three pieces of equipment. Public Works Supervisor John Louise said with the addition of two more pieces, the division should be ready to start repairing roads in the fall.

Louise told the council Monday that some of his staff know how to operate the specialized equipment, but that the purchases include training to ensure the machinery’s best use. The equipment up for approval tonight includes a five-ton vibratory roller at $27,900, a road paver at $69,400 and a portable asphalt stabilizer/trench machine with transport trailer at $69,950.

Previously, about the best the division could do was to patch potholes. The new equipment will give the city the power to do more preventive maintenance so that roads last longer before they need major repairs.

The City Council meeting is 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.

Other items up for a vote may include various appointments that Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs proposed Monday, a liquor license renewal for a Watchung Avenue nightclub, a resolution honoring Hurricane Katrina volunteers and an ordinance to prevent parking at all times on the 1100 block of Hillside Avenue.

--Bernice Paglia


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