City DPW finishes tar-and-chip roadwork eight days early

A Salamanca Department of Public Works crew wets down River Street last week after a recent tar-and-chip project.

SALAMANCA — The Salamanca Department of Public Works’ project to tar-and-chip over 60 city streets completed in early September after six days, about eight days sooner than expected.

DPW Superintendent Rob Carpenter said the project so far cost about $370,000, all of which is paid for through the state DOT’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), of which the city had over $700,000 available.

However, renting the chipper cost about $2,400 a day, Carpenter said, which saved about $19,200 for the project by finishing sooner. He said they were also able to add a street to the project that wasn’t initially planned.

Unfortunately, a common complaint of the tar-and-chip method is the amount of dust left behind afterward. Carpenter said while the streets can be dusty, it’s a vast improvement over the last round of tar-and-chip work they did in 2017.

“We’ve been out every day since we finished sweeping, wetting it down, pushing it to the side, trying to do what we can to keep the dust from coming up,” he said. “But until we get it all swept up, it’s not going to go away.”

Meanwhile, crews have been out collecting the excess stone that didn’t stick to the roads, Carpenter said. Since the stone is already paid for, he says the DPW keeps it and uses it for cemetery and sidewalk work when applicable.

The DPW is also looking at a complete repaving of Drake Street. Due to safety issues with plowing it, Carpenter said they initially looked at abandoning it as a city street, but are unable to do so.

The DPW Commission approved a resolution to pursue paving Drake Street this fall. Carpenter said he would like to get a bid out to pave it before winter to avoid having to dangerously plow it again.

“The bonus is we can still use CHIPS money to do it,” he said. “At the time we got an estimate, it was about $150,000 for all the subbase, binder and top.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS, Mayor Michael Smith said the Salamanca City Central School District has reached out to the city concerning the poor condition of the stone arch entrance at the Veterans Memorial Park gate.

“It’s falling down, it’s in bad shape,” the mayor said. “They want us to repair it.”

Due to the arch’s location, there is a question as to whether it’s the school’s responsibility to fix since it’s part of the gate which the school holds the keys to as leasee of the park or the responsibility of the city since the DPW maintains everything from the gate to Broad Street.

“The only thing we maintain is the veterans’ monuments, the grass and the driveway,” Carpenter said.

Council member Janet Koch (D-Ward 5) noted that the gate goes through the middle of the arch, so it’s difficult to say on whose side the arch is.

Council member Jack Hill (D-Ward 1) said the fence goes all the way around the park and the fence goes through the arch so the arch should be a part of the park.

City attorney Eric Weyland said it is the city’s understanding that the school controls the gate and the lock for the gate is in the archway.

“But somehow we need to tell them not to take it down,” Koch said.

“We don’t want it torn down,” added council member Sandy Magiera (D-Ward 4).

All the Common Council members agreed that the stone archway should remain a part of the park, but that the city will talk further with the school district about who is responsible for repairing it.

(Contact managing editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com)