City officials hope a new piece of equipment will help hold the line on potholes as they prepare for major repaving projects slated for next year and a citywide infrastructure replacement project by Central Hudson.
Last week, the city announced the arrival of “Patchzilla” — a 2019 International truck equipped with PB Loader Patch body. The truck has a heated bed that will allow Department of Public Works crews to keep eight tons of asphalt hot for eight to 10 hours. The truck, which replaced a 1988 model which was taken out of service two years ago, will allow crews to carry out more durable “hot-patch” repairs during cold weather and will increase the speed and efficiency of street repairs.
Mayor Steve Noble said the city had initially budgeted for the $210,000 truck in the 2018 budget, but it had taken until now for the specialized equipment to be delivered.
Patchzilla arrives as the city pursues a strategy to address road conditions that relies heavily on grant funding. Next year several major thoroughfares, including Wilber Avenue, Broadway and Henry and Prospect streets, are scheduled for repaving using state grant funding. In the meantime, it will be up to the patch truck to address breaks in the roadway on the spot.
“It doesn’t make sense to chop up and repave huge chunks of Broadway when we’re just going to do it again next year,” said Noble.
Similarly, an ongoing eight-year initiative by Central Hudson to replace every gas line in the city has posed challenges to repaving. Noble said for now, repaving efforts would be focused on areas of the city that either have no gas service or where the utility has already replaced underground infrastructure. The strategy, he said, would avoid situations where the city fully mills and repaves a street, only to have Central Hudson come in and dig it up again a short time later. Repaving of those streets is expected to begin on April 29 on South Washington Avenue, Petit Avenue, Klingburg Avenue, Condie Street and a portion of Wilber Avenue. Plans call for repaving 10 more city streets later this year.
So far in 2019, the city has received six claims totaling $2,258 for damage to vehicles from potholes. One of the claims remains pending. The rest have been denied, according to the City Clerk’s Office.