By Kristin Schultz
The snowplows have been put away and the dump trucks and steamrollers are preparing to head out as street-paving season is set to start. Preparation work is slated to begin the first week of May as crews inspect catch basins and sewer manholes and perform mill work on driveways and road patches.
Weather permitting, paving work should end in the middle to end of September. The highway department aims to pave a total of 4.95 miles over 27 Niskayuna streets with between five and seven streets being worked on simultaneously.
Highway department Superintendent Ray Smith noted that there are no current plans to close roads for extended periods due to paving projects and said there will be multiple notifications for residents impacted by the construction.
“We’ll send notices to people living on the roads we’re working on,” he said. “We encourage residents to give us feedback on things we can make better or issues like pooling or things we may not have noticed on first inspection.”
Smith plans to send notices to alert residents that their street is scheduled for work, another set of notices just prior to work beginning and a third round of notices focusing on landscaping as work wraps up.
The type of paving treatment will depend on the street. A couple of roads are scheduled for a “mill and fill” process whereby up to 2 inches of roadway surface is removed and new surface is put back down. Smith said mill and fill is appropriate for streets that have a good sub base but the surface is worn out.
Most of the roads scheduled for work will be paved with a NovaChip treatment, which is a thin coating for use on roads that have pitting or are overly patched but are in generally good condition. NovaChip is a surface treatment only and does not add to the integrity of the roadway.
For more heavily traveled roads, Smith plans to use a Type 7 Top treatment which is thicker than NovaChip and is a better wearing surface for higher volume, collector roads.
On occasion, a roadway or portion of road will require a total reclamation which essentially reduces the street back to dirt, and a new road is constructed in its place. There are no plans for that kind of extensive road work this summer.
The Niskayuna highway department is only responsible for town roads. Many major thoroughfares like Balltown Road and Route 7 fall within the county or state’s area of responsibility.