Village of Saugerties officials have decided to delay an $873,000 business district streetscape improvement project and a portion of a $1.2 million sewer line improvement project until the school year ends in June.
The crosswalks in the streetscape project must be completed before the sewer project can begin, and those crosswalks are heavily used by students, explained Mayor William Murphy.
The streetscape project calls for nine intersections in the downtown area to be dug up and colored pavers to be laid down, clearly marking where pedestrians should cross the streets. New handicapped ramps will also be installed at the intersections, making it easier for those who have difficulty walking to get into the intersection.
Police Chief Joseph Sinagra has said the project will make the downtown business district a safer place for pedestrians. One item Sinagra and village officials have been asking the state for since last year is not part of the project, though— “walk” and “do not walk” signs for pedestrians. Sinagra said he hopes the state will install that signage this year while the intersections are under construction.
The streetscape project, which has been in the works for about four years, was to begin last fall and completed this spring. However, problems with the bidding process forced village trustees to throw all bids out and the project was rebid last month.
Alex Wade, in charge for special projects for the village, said going out to bid last month has actually helped with ten companies submitting bids this time as compared to only three back in the fall, which, he added, should keep costs down.
Trustees will accept the bids and make a recommendation as to which company the contract should be awarded to at their April 7 meeting.
Their recommendation then needs to be approved by the state Department of Transportation, which will be paying for 80 percent of the cost. The village will pay for the remaining 20 percent.
Half of the sewer line project was completed last fall when a robotic camera was used to determine where line collapses might occur and where blockages existed as a precursor to lining the pipes with a plastic sleeve.
Much of the cost will be covered by an $800,000 federal grant and a low-interest loan.
Last spring a section of the village’s century-old clay sewer line collapsed along upper Partition St.
A 60-foot section of the line running from the Main St./Partition St. intersection toward the lower portion of Partition St. needs to be replaced.
As soon as school closes for the summer, contractors will be out digging up the road to replace the pipes, and when that work is completed, the streetscape project will begin.
A report in a local daily newspaper stated that loans for the Saugerties sewer project were in danger of drying up due to proposed cuts to the federal Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund. The mayor said this isn’t the case. “Our project is already fully approved and shovel-ready, so it will not be cut,” said Murphy.