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Paving

Residents say Maybeck Drive in the Village of Poquott is in need of road repairs after various issues related to flooding destroyed the street. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Residents living on Maybeck Drive in Poquott are no strangers to floods.

The private road, which lacks a water drainage system, is prone to flooding during rainy weather as water travels from higher roads in the area down to Maybeck Drive. Over time the excess water eroded parts of the road and allowed potholes to form. While the previous owners maintained the road for the last several years, last year they failed to do so making the roadway impassable.

But on Nov. 17 the Village of Poquott voted to acquire the south end of Maybeck Drive in hopes of fixing the area.

Residents say Maybeck Drive in the Village of Poquott is in need of road repairs after various issues related to flooding destroyed the street. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Residents say Maybeck Drive in the Village of Poquott is in need of road repairs after various issues related to flooding destroyed the street. Photo by Giselle Barkley

While some residents supported the village’s decision to take over the road some residents questioned the village’s plan. Typically roads must be maintained before it’s transferred to the village. However, Village Attorney assured residents this isn’t the first time the village took over a roadway that wasn’t maintained. Despite this, the status of the area left some residents saying maintaining the road will affect residents in the area.

“It’s in pretty bad shape,” Barbara Donovan said about the road. “For the village to take it over at this point, it’s going to cost a lot of money.”

Donovan is the former mayor of Poquott. She first dealt with negotiations regarding Maybeck Drive in 2006 when the village sought ownership of the street. According to Donovan the board of trustees at the time held several meetings with the previous owners. Despite continuous negotiations about transferring the parcel to the village, the owners didn’t agree to transfer ownership until this year.

Mayor Dee Parish was unavailable to comment on the issue prior to publication.Although Trustee Jeff Koppelson is unsure why the owners stopped maintaining the parcel, he said the village is in a financial position to fix the road during a phone interview. He added that it would cost the village less money than if the owners fixed the area themselves. Planning Board Chairman Roger Flood said he didn’t oppose the transfer of ownership to the village but said he suggested that the previous owners should contribute to funding the road repairs. Koppelson said the owners intend to do so.

Currently the village needs to repave the roadway and address drainage concerns to prevent future flooding. Koppelson said he addressed the concerns of residents who opposed the village’s decision to take ownership of the south end of Maybeck Drive. He compared the situation to paying school related taxes. Residents argued that even after their kids graduate from school, taxpayers must continue paying those taxes. It is a similar case when it comes to maintaining roadways in the village.

“The reason is, is because it goes toward the community. It’s part of living in a community, especially a small village,” Koppelson said relating paying school taxes to using taxpayer dollars to fund road repairs.

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Brookhaven is implementing a new method of paving streets. Photo from Dan Losquadro

December is approaching, but things are heating up on the streets of Setauket.

Brookhaven became the first municipality across Long Island to use a product known as warm mix asphalt during repaving projects, and with three paving seasons already under his belt, Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said its implementation could not be smoother — literally.

“As the third largest Highway Department in all of New York state I felt it was important for Brookhaven to be both an innovator and a leader in introducing new technologies,” he said in a statement. “As we enter the latter part of the paving season, warm mix asphalt allows us to achieve proper compaction, especially during night work in cooler temperatures. I want to show other departments that not only is this product viable, it’s actually preferable in many instances.”

Warm mix asphalt production uses temperatures 30 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the traditional hot mix asphalt used in paving projects. The Highway Department said that greater temperature differences between asphalt mixes and the outside temperature makes for faster cooling for the mixes, which affects durability. With warm mix asphalt’s slower cooling time, it is most effective when used in lower temperatures, typically at night, Losquadro said.

The Highway Department entered into a new contract last year, which included new bid specifications calling for the technology, which Losquadro said provided more accountability and streamlined the paving process.

The technology has been used for more than a decade across the country, but did not hit the pavements of Suffolk County until last week in Setauket.

“Since it was first demonstrated in the US in 1996, warm mix asphalt has sparked the interest of transportation agencies and the private sector,” said Tom Harman, director of the Federal Highway Administration Center for Accelerating Innovation. “Warm mix asphalt technologies allow a reduction in asphalt production, flexibility when it comes to the temperatures needed for applying it and reduced production fuel consumption and emissions.”

It also extends the paving season and enables the use of higher recycled products, Harman said. In 2014, a third of all asphalt produced in the U.S. was warm mix asphalt, and “we expect use of the material to continue to grow in use.”

Over a two-night span last week, the department traveled the streets of Hulse Road to Comsewogue Road, and Comsewogue Road from the train tracks to Sheep Pasture Road to Old Town Road, Losquadro said.

By the end of the week, Losquadro said the streets of Setauket saw new life. The highway superintendent said it delivered a handful of benefits to the town right off the bat, including better working conditions for air quality and also reducing fuel emissions, fumes and odors.

“We achieved a very uniform surface with almost no roller marks or imperfections,” he said. “I wanted to pick the right time to test this out and have that proof of concept to use it in cooler temperatures. Now having done that, I see no reason why this can’t become our new standard for Brookhaven. I see a lot of benefits to us, both environmentally and from a work perspective.”

The cost, Losquadro said, is fairly minimal in difference from typical hot mix asphalt usage. The Setauket job saw a roughly 88-cent difference per ton of asphalt used, which amounted to about $4,400 more than what hot mix asphalt would have achieved.

“That’s pretty minimal in the grand scheme of the size of the jobs we’re talking about here,” Losquadro said. “The cost should be at least offset by the reduction in fuel that the manufacturer is going to save by not having to heat the material up as much.”

And with his proof of concept, Losquadro said he would be bringing his warm mix story to future meetings of various county highway departments with hopes of spreading the success.

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Port Jefferson’s upcoming paving project is fit for a president

There are some patches of rough road in the presidential section of Port Jefferson Village. Photo by Elana Glowatz

A contractor is hitting the pavement to smooth out some Port Jefferson roads.

The village board of trustees last week approved paving projects on the presidential streets, off of Old Post Road, and at the Riviera condos in the Harbor Hills section, between Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai harbors. In total, the projects will cost just shy of $360,000, with about two-thirds of that figure financing the roads named after former U.S. presidents — Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt avenues and Wilson Drive — as well as the adjacent Rustic Road. The other third will cover Lookout Ridge Drive, Sawtooth Cove, Rockledge Path and Laurel Crescent.

Medford-based Suffolk Asphalt Corp. will handle both those neighborhood projects. More than half of the cost to Suffolk Asphalt will come out of surplus money left over from the 2014-15 village budget, village officials said.

Of all the roads in the village that needed work, Mayor Margot Garant said during the Aug. 3 board meeting, “The presidential section was in the most need of repair, so they were approved first,” followed by the Riviera section.

As for smaller side streets that need to be repaved, officials said the village’s Department of Public Works will handle them in-house, rather than hiring a contractor. Trustee Larry LaPointe gave the examples of Grant and Bleeker streets, off East Broadway, which he said are in bad shape.


Path takes Highlands road

Port Jefferson’s village board of trustees approved a contractor last week to install about 0.2 miles of sidewalk along Highlands Boulevard, between the entrance to the Highlands condominiums and Oakland Avenue.

The sidewalk has been planned for a while. During a resident push for the village-owned grassy area on Highlands Boulevard, along which the sidewalk would run, to be declared as open space or parkland, the village also tossed around the idea of putting in a walkway there.

“They don’t even have a sidewalk,” Mayor Margot Garant said about the condos residents at a previous board meeting. “They have to walk in the road to get from the Highlands … to the upper Port area.”

Nesconset-based Jadeco Construction Corp. will put in the sidewalk at a cost of $65,100 and the village will pay Welsbach Electric Corp., of Flushing, $17,000 to install lighting along the route.

Although sidewalk plans are coming together now, the village approved the parkland designation for the 6-acre parcel in March, limiting its future use or development. Officials have discussed keeping the park passive, but possibly putting in benches and walking paths.

Jason Kontzamanys takes on Dan Losquadro on Nov. 3

Road paving is just one of the issues highway superintendent candidates will debate. File photo by Erika Karp

Jason Kontzamanys has been working in the Town of Brookhaven parks department for a decade, but the Democrat said he is looking for a new challenge, which prompted his decision to face off against Republican incumbent Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro in November.

Jason Kontzamanys is running on the democratic ticket against incumbent Republican Dan Losquadro. Photo from the candidate
Jason Kontzamanys is running on the democratic ticket against incumbent Republican Dan Losquadro. Photo from the candidate

In a recent interview, Kontzamanys, 45, of Port Jefferson Station, spoke about his plans for his campaign and what he would do if elected to the position. He said his years of experience working as a maintenance mechanic in the parks department and with blue-collar workers makes him the man for the job.

This is Kontzamanys’ first time running for office and the Comsewogue High School alumnus recently went back to school to earn his master’s degree in social studies education from Dowling College. He plans to obtain his doctorate in education administration and become a school administrator.

“I knew I could make a difference,” he said about accepting the nomination.

Kontzamanys said he believed the biggest issue plaguing the department is the overuse of subcontracting.

“The taxpayers should be upset as well,” he said. “The taxpayer is paying for a unionized workforce and they’re not being worked to their full potential.”

Kontzamanys began working for Brookhaven at the landfill and currently works out of the parks department’s base in Holtsville, where he helps with “all aspects of construction and maintenance,” he said. This has given him the opportunity to be versatile and get to know the whole town, he said.

He also has his Class A Commercial License to operate heavy equipment.

Bringing the subcontracted work in house is one of the first steps Kontzamanys would take to help boost the department’s morale, which he alleged is almost non-existent. He said keeping an open-door policy would also help boost spirits.

“You have to keep an open mind, because everybody has the right to be heard, whether it’s a taxpayer or an in-house union member,” he said.

Kontzamanys also said he has a vision to modernize the department and reduce the department’s debt service.

Jason Kontzamanys is running on the democratic ticket against incumbent Republican Dan Losquadro, above. File photo by Erika Karp
Jason Kontzamanys is running on the democratic ticket against incumbent Republican Dan Losquadro, above. File photo by Erika Karp

Losquadro, who was elected as superintendent in 2013, said in a phone interview that he disagreed with Kontzamanys’ notion that subcontracting was bad for the department and the workers aren’t being used. Losquadro said there was a tremendous backlog of work that needed to be done when he took office.

“We needed to go out and contract for that work to keep up with the volume,” he said.

He added that department crews are still responsible for responding to day-to-day complaints and completing routine work. He said the response time for services performed has greatly improved and the fixed-cost contracts gave the department the ability to attend to a high volume of work.

“I think it has been a great boon for the taxpayer,” Losquadro said.

Losquadro also responded to Kontzamanys’ claim that morale was down in the department, stating it is “exactly the opposite,” as he as tried to maintain a direct and open line to his employees.

Making the department more environmentally friendly is also crucial to Kontzamanys, he said, and he spoke about going after federal grants for solar sidewalks and solar panels on highway department land.

Looking at the big picture, Kontzamanys wants to explore additional shared services between municipalities in order to create a synergy between them. For example, collectively bidding on asphalt could help drive down the price.

“I don’t want to just manage, I want to completely transform,” he said.

Election Day is Nov. 3.

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Stony Brook’s B-Section is brand new. Photo from Dan Losquadro

Stony Brook has a bunch of brand new boulevards, thanks to Brookhaven bureaucrats, and residents are abuzz.

The Brookhaven Town Highway Department finished a long-anticipated road improvement project in Stony Brook last week in the area known as the B-Section, repaving 19 roads and making the neighborhood safer. Residents living in the community celebrated the milestone after more than two decades of wear and tear.

“It is a pleasure driving through the community now,” said Dr. Jay Orlikoff, who lives in the neighborhood. “The last time these roads were repaved was about 25 years ago and it was tough to get in and out of the community. This time it was very well done and the courtesy of the workers in how they directed traffic was extremely helpful.”

Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro said the 19 Stony Brook roads have been near the top of his department’s list for more than a year, but budget constraints have limited his repaving initiatives. But as of the end of last week, the 19 roads — including Balfour Lane, Ballad Lane, Ballad Place, Barker Court, Barker Drive, Barnwell Lane, Beaverdale Lane, Bendix Lane, Bently Lane, Birdseye Circle, Blackwell Court, Blackwell Lane, Blueberry Lane, Bonnie Lane, Botany Lane, Bucknell Lane, Bunting Lane, Burgess Lane and Buxmont Lane — have new surfaces and are safer routes.

“They were in terrible condition. These were roads that, quite frankly, I wish I could have gotten to last year,” he said. “Unfortunately, as you can imagine, everything is budget-driven. There’s a finite amount of money.”

The highway superintendent said he has about 3,350 miles of road to maintain throughout Brookhaven on an annual basis, and more than $100 million worth of roadwork on his to-do list at any given time. But there is only roughly $17 million in funds available to complete the work.

“I’m trying to work my way through these roads, and one of the things I’ve tried to do with people is create a reasonable expectation,” he said. “There are three-to-five-year plans of how we need to get where we need to be, and I’m working toward that. A project like this, that can cost between three-quarters of a million dollars and $1 million, is just an extensive project.”

For the better part of a week, Brookhaven road crews took to the B-Section to rebuild concrete, curbs, drainage and paving components on the 19 roads. Residents waited patiently over several days of milling work and the end result, the superintendent said, was a safer Stony Brook.

“It is very gratifying to hear the positive feedback we have been receiving from residents in this community,” Losquadro said. “This is one more project I can check off our to-do list. The Highway Department will keep on pace to complete many more roads throughout this paving season.”

Looking ahead, Losquadro said he had another big project coming up, budget permitting, in the same vicinity near both Spyglass Lane and Buccaneer Lane, where he said roads are in terrible condition.

“We need to get in there and get that done,” he said. “With the budgetary constraints, I have to be honest with you, I can spend my entire allotment without a problem. But the residents throughout this town deserve attention. We try to do worst first.”

Old Homestead Road is one street in northern Port Jefferson ready for repaving after a harsh winter beat them up. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Following a snowy winter that punished local streets, leaving numerous potholes, Port Jefferson is kicking off the paving season with a few village roads that are in particularly poor condition.

The board of trustees approved Old Homestead Road and the adjacent Landing Lane, Cove Lane, Chips Court and the northern half of Sands Lane for repaving at its business meeting Monday night. The village is contracting with Suffolk Paving Corp. to redo the roads, at a total cost of almost $285,000.

Sands Lane is one street in northern Port Jefferson ready for repaving after a harsh winter beat them up. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Sands Lane is one street in northern Port Jefferson ready for repaving after a harsh winter beat them up. Photo by Elana Glowatz

“They are beyond — Old Homestead is in real bad shape,” Mayor Margot Garant said. “Sands Lane, Cove Lane, Landing [Lane] and Chips [Court] are completely falling apart.”

The roads are scheduled to be milled down on Thursday, with paving to follow a few days later, on April 13-14.

“It’ll be good to get some of these roads done,” Trustee Larry LaPointe said.

Though the five streets approved Monday will be the first in the village to get some TLC, they will not be the last — the board also approved a $25,000 transfer for the public works department from its storm sewer expenses to its street maintenance fund to help repair roads.

The section around Old Homestead is “in desperate need of paving” but village employees “will be working on additional roads using their own equipment, so the paving doesn’t stop there,” Garant said during the public forum portion of Monday’s meeting.

Pedestrians, like drivers, will see improvements during paving season — Garant said the village will be repairing sidewalks as well, including one on the frequently traversed Arden Place, which has municipal parking lots on either side.

Part of Andrea Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz

By Julianne Cuba

Following another devastating winter on Long Island, Brookhaven Town is receiving a little boost from the New York State Department of Transportation’s Extreme Winter Recovery fund for the year 2015-16, Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) has announced.

The Highway Department will receive more than $501,000, while last year it received more than $400,000 in recovery funds in order to improve Brookhaven’s infrastructure. Prior to 2014, the town had not received any additional funding recovery funds for road damage.

“I want to thank the Long Island delegation for working with me on securing this desperately-needed funding for Brookhaven,” Losquadro said in a press release. “The past two winters have been historically harsh and wreaked havoc on town roadways. The more funding we receive, the more roads we can pave.”

Part of Pleasant Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Part of Pleasant Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz

In a phone interview, Losquadro said he is continuing to look for other sources of revenue from all levels of government in order to offset the cost to local taxpayers, whether in grants or funding from the federal government.

“There’s easily five times the amount of work that needs to be done that I have money for … maybe even six or seven times,” he said.

Within the next week — hopefully by April 15 — Losquadro said he hopes the resurfacing of the roads will start, weather permitting. Like last year, the work will likely continue right up until November, he said.

For the past two years, Losquadro said the town has been able to repair about 60 miles of roadway each year.

“I’m hoping to be able to match that, if not surpass that, this year,” he said. “If we’re able to get a little extra money from New York State like we did last year, every dollar we get is another roadway I can do.”

Losquadro said “it’s not dollar to dollar,” and if he can get assistance in paying for other projects that the Highway Department would have otherwise had to fund, then he could repurpose that money for roadway paving.

He referenced the traffic safety grant, which had been awarded for North Country Road in Miller Place, as an example of money that will now be free to allocate for repaving elsewhere in the town.

“That [grant] money will allow us to redo that section of roadway, a lot of the work we would have had to do there will now be covered by that grant,” he said. “That’s an award that’s already been awarded. We are seeking grants on all levels. We are looking for sources from revenue and assistance from everywhere we can.”

Losquadro said that advocating for additional funds for the resurfacing of roads is generally not normal, but there is just not enough money in the budget.

“While we were certainly not happy to see another severe winter, I am happy that we’re able to provide additional funding. State representatives listened to myself and other highway superintendents and were able to secure additional funding again this year,” he said.

Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen patches a pothole in the Town of Smithtown as another highway department staffer looks on. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

Smithtown Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges accusing him of tampering with public records for a town paving project, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Jorgensen, 63, of St. James, was directed to appear in First District Court in Central Islip for his arraignment, where he faced several charges, including tampering with public records, falsifying business records, filing false records, official misconduct and grand larceny, relating to incidents dating back to Nov. 18, 2014.

The district attorney alleged that Jorgensen directed a highway foreman to alter road construction reports to conceal that he had approved a contractor, Suffolk Asphalt Corporation of Selden, to pave at least eight Smithtown streets in freezing temperatures in November. The altered records misrepresented the weather conditions during the repaving work, Spota said.

Jorgensen’s misdemeanor grand larceny charge also accused him of stealing a public work order for the improper repaving and taking the official document home. District attorney detectives found the records in Jorgensen’s Hope Place residence, under his bed, Spota said.

“State department of transportation construction standards dictate asphalt must not be applied to a road surface in freezing temperatures and, in fact, the town’s own engineer has said repaving in freezing weather would result in the asphalt falling apart,” Spota said. “The repaving of a residential street doesn’t happen that often and when it does, residents are paying for a job done correctly, not a faulty repaving that will soon need pothole repair work.”

Both Jorgensen and Anthony M. La Pinta, a Hauppauge-based attorney representing him, did not return calls seeking comment.

Jorgensen has authority over 142 employees with a $30 million annual operating budget to pay for snow removal and the paving, drainage and maintenance of roughly 450 miles of roads and curbs in the town. He was first elected in 2010 to serve as superintendent, but has worked in the department for 37 years in various capacities, including as a foreman. He left retirement in 2009 when he was elected superintendent and was re-elected in 2013.

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio declined to comment on the district attorney’s charges against the highway superintendent.