Many departments team up for rapid nocturnal Morton Boulevard repaving

Trucks line up on Morton Boulevard.

The Town of Ulster last week completed the rehabilitation of Morton Boulevard, a complex-yet-brief project planned and executed by town Highway Superintendent Frank Petramale with the assistance of other departments within the municipality and the highway departments of neighboring communities. The late-night project, which finished at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, was designed to complete necessary road work while minimizing traffic issues.

“It went pretty smoothly,” said Petramale, who through municipal shared services agreements enlisted the aid of highway departments from the towns of Kingston, Saugerties and Woodstock for both personnel and equipment, requiring the approval of labor unions for the after-hours work. “It wasn’t too hard. All municipalities look for help from other departments, but not too many municipalities work overnight.”

In addition to other towns, Petramale’s department was joined by the town water and Sewer departments, along with town police, which assisted with traffic monitoring during the two-night milling and paving project. White Plains-based road construction materials firm Peckham Industries were subcontractors on the project.

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Town Supervisor James Quigley III explained the intricate scheduling involved in the work, which at times involved the coordination of numerous trucks to move material to and from the work site, including the need for the manholes along Morton to be pre-raised by the Sewer Department to meet the surface of the repaved road, along with the Water Department to consider pre-emptive valve replacement and line improvements to avoid having to tear up the road in the near future. The Highway Department also prepared catch basins and grates for the storm system that hit the region in advance of the paving. 

On the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 28, Peckham workers used a roto-mill to grind the surface of the blacktop, which was loaded onto what Quigley estimated was 25 different trucks from the various municipalities, which brought the materials to the town’s transfer station for storage. Peckham returned the following night with a paver and roller, along with around 35 trucks worth of blacktop brought in from a plant in Catskill. After the blacktop was down, a subcontractor painted the lines on the road, wrapping the project well before rush hour on Friday morning.

“It worked pretty well,” said Petramale. “We were very happy. Complexity-wise, we’ve done some bigger projects, but, Morton has thousands of cars a day, and there’s no way we could accomplish that in a safe manner doing that during the day. So that’s why we did it at night. Everything kind of fell into place, there were no issues, no breakdowns.”

Quigley said Morton Boulevard is a “highly utilized thoroughfare,” necessitating the overnight work.

“It has a high amount of traffic on the roadway during the day,” he said. “It serves as a bypass to Ulster Avenue and relieves some of the traffic congestion on Ulster Avenue. So it was important not to disturb those traffic patterns during their period of use. Therefore it dictated a nighttime replacement.”

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