Warmer Winter Helping Construction DPW Projects Advance in Region

By GEORGE DRAPEAU III – January 25, 2024

CHESTNUT RIDGE, NY—The head of the Rockland County Highway Department recently told CONSTRUCTION NEWS that these past two milder winters in the region has allowed projects to move forward toward completion ahead of pre-bid schedules.

Higher temperatures, coupled with a lack of typical winter weather events over the past few months, are keeping crews busy on several public works and DOT work that will be completed sooner than expected.

In the Mid-Hudson Valley region, where residents have finally seen snow on the ground this winter, accumulation totals are still a fraction of the average for this time of year. Rockland County— where the average is 29 inches of snow per year (compared to the U.S. average of 28 inches annually)—has been able to call upon its light-duty vehicles to remove snow unlike much of the nation that has experienced blizzards and pounding nor’easters.

“By this time in the winter, we would normally have had several weather events,” said Rockland Superintendent of Highways Charles “Skip” Vezzetti. “The milder weather has allowed us to continue moving forward with some projects and accelerate the planning and start of work for the upcoming season.”

Crews setting rebar in mid January on the Woodlands Lake Dam Removal capital improvement project in Westchester. With the dam removed and a new bridge being built, the project diverts water into a new river channel flowing parallel to the trailway in the Town of Irvington. Photo Credit/George Drapeau III

The projects that have advanced this winter include the West Washington Bridge in Pearl River, an $8 million project that will be delivered sooner than expected to the motoring public. Another structure, the Call Hallow Bridge in Pomona/Haverstraw, is also advancing faster than expected thanks to uninterrupted schedules. Mr. Vezzetti also pointed to a $7 million project—the roundabout on Suffern Lane in Thiells- Mt. Ivy—that will likely be let sooner than originally planned.

A final structure, the Cold Storage Building at the new Highway Department facility in Chestnut Ridge, a $2 million project, is expected to be delivered this spring, ahead of schedule, Mr. Vezzetti said.

Lower snow totals and fewer days of freezing temperatures have also allowed crews to move further along in Westchester, where the average winter snowfall is slightly higher, at 31 inches. County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) Commissioner Hugh Greechan, Jr., P.E., noted the milder winter weather has kept construction operations going on several keynote projects. These include work in the City of White Plains, dam removal and bridgework in the Town of Irvington and roadwork in the Sound Shore communities of Rye and Port Chester, NY.

Nadia Savage, P.E., Director of Construction DPW&T, said work on the Rehabilitation of Main Street Bridge over the Bronx River Parkway and Bronx River in the City of White Plains was slated for a winter shutdown. The project consists of removal and replacement of the existing asphalt wearing surface, waterproofing, concrete and masonry repairs, subsurface drainage repairs, replacement of stone parapet walls, ADA Ramps, and other repairs to the bridge. The warmer months allowed the contractor to continue working on the core wall, concrete curbing, stone facing on bridge, and other activities. This season, cones and crews have been a common sight, even in late January. As construction is progressing, updated schedules are showing the project being completed ahead of schedule.

The general contractor is Transit Construction Corp. of Yonkers, NY.

Woodlands Lake Dam Rehabilitation at VE Macy Park in Irvington, is another project that has benefited from warmer than average temperature. Commissioner Greechan said, “New York State DEC dam regulations mandated extensive modifications to the existing dam, removal of the dam and restoring the Saw Mill River to its natural states, was the best solution.”

The project consists of removing an existing dam, installing a new pedestrian bridge, temporary bypassing the Saw Mill River, and installing a stone flow channel to allow the Saw Mill River to flow naturally. The warmer weather allowed the contractor to proceed with the work, without a winter shutdown. One major aspect of the project, the setting of the new prefabricated bridge, is taking place in February thanks to the mild weather.

The general contractor on project is Papitto Construction Co., Inc., of Carmel, NY.

Mr. Greechan expects that once the project is done, the public will be walking on the trailway this June, much earlier than expected.

Rehabilitation of Midland Ave from Playland Parkway to the Port Chester/Rye border line is approximately 1.7 miles of road paving, concrete curb replacement, adjustment of utility casting, installation of handicap ramps, new traffic islands and pavement markings. The entire project is weather depending, from the placement of asphalt to the installation of the pavement markings. Having warm weather allows the contractor the ability to complete concrete curb and handicap ramps, during these winter months when normally projects would be in winter shutdown. More importantly, the drainage activity was able to proceed because the ground was not frozen solid.

He added, “Despite the asphalt plants being closed, we were able to do concrete work. We’re able to continue working because we don’t have frozen ground.”

He also noted that the contractor was able to do a lot more curbing than anticipated. “We’re able to prep work for the spring when the asphalt plants reopen,” Ms. Savage added.

The general contractor on the $3.695 million project is Montesano Brothers, Inc., of New Rochelle, NY.

“We love nice weather at DPW&T,” Ms. Savage concluded. “The nice weather means that we can get projects done faster and get people safely back on the roads without all the work-zone traffic.”

Although temperatures are much nicer this winter, Mr. Vezzetti of Rockland added that it’s still not quite warm enough to address other issues like potholes. For now, workers can only lay down what’s called a cold patch until late spring/ early summer arrives.

And that’s not soon enough for just about everyone who has anything to do with construction.

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