Mayor announces cheaper, greener road repairs
by Jess Berry
May 21, 2014 | 1193 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Bill de Blasio walks past mounds of gravel at the Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant.
Mayor Bill de Blasio walks past mounds of gravel at the Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant.
The staff of the Department of Transportation (DOT) certainly had their work cut out for them this winter, as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last Wednesday that they had repaved 173 miles of streets and patched a record 338,000 potholes since January, over double what was done in the same time frame in 2013 and three times more than in 2012.

Standing at the newly rebuilt Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant, a $25 million project, de Blasio also announced that, while the workload is not getting any lighter for DOT, the work should be getting a little bit easier.

The state-of-the-art asphalt plant at Hamilton Avenue, underneath the Gowanus Expressway in Red Hook, is one of the key components of the city’s plan to repave 1,000 lane miles of streets, repair more than 400,000 potholes and completely reconstruct those streets that have the greatest need.

The year-long renovation to the plant will allow for a significant increase in its asphalt production, improving output by 30 percent, or up to 450 tons per hour. The plant will also increase the department’s use of recycled asphalt by 10 percent, or 50,000 tons, saving $5 million per year and paying for itself after five years.

All of this means that DOT will have easier access to more environmentally friendly asphalt, and all at a cheaper cost to taxpayers.

“We’re focused on the big picture changes, the new policies, the things that we think will improve life and safety in this city,” de Blasio said. “But we also know every single day it begins with the basics. It begins with filling the potholes, resurfacing the roads, making sure people can get around this city. And that’s what we’re committed to.”

All of these road improvements are included in de Blasio’s proposed executive budget, which allocates $226 million in capital funds for the street repaving and pothole repairs, as well as $670 million for street reconstruction.

“I’m painting the picture clearly,” he said. “This is about efficiency, it’s about saving money for the taxpayers, it’s about getting the material we need faster. And it’s also about doing it in a greener fashion.

“And we knew that with everything that we’ve done in our budget, we needed to be convinced that it was fiscally prudent, both today and for the long run,” he added. “And this facility is an example of something that will keep benefitting the taxpayers for years to come.”

DOT Deputy Commissioner Galileo Orlando also explained that new technology has allowed for asphalt that can be paved in temperatures as low as 15 degrees. The operating temperature of their warm-weather mixes has also been cut by 50 degrees, which means the asphalt releases fewer emissions.

“I would also like to thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to road repair by giving our workers the resources they need and deserve,” Orlando said. “This rebuild plan will allow us to work harder and to save money as well.”
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