New Castle officials were discouraged after recently learning that curbing and sidewalk work for the downtown infrastructure and streetscape project would be delayed until next spring.
Steve Boswell, of Boswell Engineering, said last Wednesday that he anticipates storm drainage improvements will be completed by the end of the month and repaving will be finished by Thanksgiving. However, the onset of winter would delay the sidewalk and curb repair.
Originally, the target date for project completion was late this year in time for the holiday season, although certain minor items weren’t likely to be done until spring 2019.
“From a practical standpoint you don’t want to be pouring concrete in December anyway,” said John Kazawic, the project manager overseeing the work. “You don’t want to pour the concrete until you finish the drainage.”
Kazawic said the delay would also provide Con Edison time to remove utility poles that are on sidewalks and that the work would resume in early spring. Boswell noted that Con Ed still has more work to do.
“The job is going well but it never goes as fast as anyone wants,” Kazawic added. “You really don’t want to do the sidewalks except in areas where the poles have already been removed because otherwise it’s a bad job and we want to give you a good job.”
Boswell noted that the installation of a traffic signal at South Greeley and King Street would also be delayed until after the repaving has been completed.
Last week, Town Board members requested an updated schedule on the project after receiving numerous questions and complaints from residents. Town Administrator Jill Shapiro said officials want to give notice to residents and merchants on what to expect but are struggling to provide accurate information.
Boswell and Kazawic agreed to submit a project update, but Shapiro questioned if the sidewalks could start next month if Con Edison removed all of its poles. She said residents would be excited to see some sidewalks completed so they have an idea of what the final project will look like.
Kazawic said if Con Edison worked swiftly they could repair some of the curbing and sidewalks before winter.
Supervisor Robert Greenstein added that the public is tired of the construction plates and bumpy roads downtown. He agreed residents would be happier if they saw some movement on the sidewalk and curbing project before the end of the year.
Kazawic said most of the project, including the underground drainage and sewer lines, is done even if the downtown still looks like a construction zone.
“The majority of the work has been completed but they (residents) don’t see any of it,” Kazawic said. “The good stuff comes last.”