2012-02-16 / Local News

Highway superintendent touts saving money in 2011

The Cheektowaga Highway Department had a “challenging but successful year,” according to Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner.

“Mother Nature was not kind to our area, this past year,” Wegner said. “We experienced a long, hard winter combined with a late heavy rain spring season.”

According to Wegner, the department increased its productivity for the third year in a row, despite seeing no budget increase from 2010.

Wegner said the biggest challenge faced by the Highway Department was balancing the budget with increasing expenses in road salt, overtime, vehicle repair and fuel, all related to the weather.

“The other challenge we faced was trying to deliver our paving and drainage plan in a shortened season because of the late spring start,” Wegner said. “I’m proud of each and every one of our employees as our crews stepped up and delivered. Because of their hard work and commitment we were able to complete all of our scheduled projects.”

Looking back at 2011, the department was able to balance several projects. They include:

Paving 66 streets, which cover more than 17 miles, or 9.1 percent of the town. The department is expected to maintain a paving level between 8 and 10 percent of town roads each year.

“Many roads have not seen repair in over 20, years and that is unacceptable,” Wegner said. “Our priority over the next couple of years is to address these neglected roads.”

Installing 122 catch basins, 27 manholes and more than 21,000 feet of drainage pipes. The department also started a major drainage project in the Southgate area. The Dingens Street drainage project continued with more than 5,000 feet of pipe installed.

“We will remain in this area until all the scheduled work is done,” Wegner said. “The streets in this area have little to no drainage whatsoever.”

Repairing driveway approaches and curbs damaged during the December 2010 storm. The effort will shift back to sidewalk replacement in 2012, as the department plans to install 147 sidewalk handicap ramps and approximately 2,100 sidewalk blocks.

According to Wegner, the department saved $2,647,993 in total reconstruction costs and more than $5.6 million in contractor, project manager, labor and recycling costs.

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