State officials announced the release Monday of $75 million in funds to speed up repair of pothole-ravaged roads on Long Island and eight other regions of New York State.
"It's important to keep the state's highways in top shape, and after another harsh winter, we're expediting critical repair projects to ensure the roads are safer for New Yorkers," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. "This funding will speed up much-needed resurfacing and rebuilding efforts, which is good for motorists across the state."
The Long Island projects consist of 31 lane miles -- the length of a road segment multiplied by the number of lanes -- on Route 25 from East Bartlett Road to County Route 21 in the Town of Brookhaven; Route 454 from Old Willets Path in Smithtown to Route 111 in Islip; Route 112 from East Main Street to Route 27 in Brookhaven; Route 111 from Route 347 to Route 25/25A in Smithtown; Route 25A from East Broadway to Hallock Avenue in Brookhaven; and Route 114 from Route 27 to Stephen Hands Path in East Hampton.
Motorists have complained about potholes after two harsh winters during which water wedges into cracks in the roads and freezes, then breaks through. The road segments were selected based on their condition, said Jennifer Post, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
State officials said the projects will be done by the end of the year and that they supplement more than $437 million in capital construction funds for paving some 2,311 miles of state roads in fiscal year 2015-16.
They include "paving over sections of rough road, removing the worn top layer of pavement from all travel lanes and shoulders, repairing base concrete and/or asphalt and installing a new asphalt riding surface," officials said.
The funds will also pay for replacement of traffic signal vehicle detectors and new pavement markings. "By accelerating essential resurfacing projects into this construction year, we are able to mitigate some of the damage caused by the severe freeze-thaw cycle that contributed to advanced road deterioration this winter," said state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.
Robert Sinclair Jr., spokesman for AAA New York, said the funding helps. "More money the better spent on roads," he said. "We're in a severe deficit as far as pavement quality is concerned in our region. Every extra dollar is very helpful."
Sinclair cited a 2005 report by the New York State Advisory Panel for Transportation Policy for 2025 that said the state should spend an additional $2 billion a year to maintain roads from 2005 to 2025.
He said The Road Information Program, a Washington, D.C.-based transportation research group, said in a March report that in New York "37 percent of major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are in poor condition."The group estimated that driving on such dilapidated roads "costs all New York State motorists a total of $6.3 billion annually in extra vehicle operating costs," including "accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear."