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Streets

Highway super takes systems online

Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro sifts through a town map with the touch of his finger. Photo by Phil Corso

Managing one of the largest highway departments in New York State takes a lot of work, and Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) has put all of it in the palm of his hand.

As of Jan. 5, the entire department went paperless with a new electronic work order system and by the end of that month, foremen in the field either updated or closed more than 1,500 work orders using a mobile app on town-issued iPads. In an exclusive interview with TBR News Media, Losquadro and his team said the Brookhaven highway department has raised the bar for municipalities across the state.

“To me, this is nothing short of transformative,” Losquadro said. “Improving efficiencies of the highway department has been one of my priorities since taking office three years ago.”

In the past, Brookhaven residents hoping to see something as simple as a pothole being repaired in front of their home would need to file a work order, which an office staffer would enter into a computer, print out and then deliver to a foreman, typically taking five to seven days before resolution. But now, the highway superintendent said, the information can be shared almost immediately.

“We owe that to our customers, because they deserve the response that a customer from any business should get,” Losquadro said, referring to his Brookhaven constituents.

The new paperless system capitalized on already existing geographic information systems the town had invested in over recent years to help create one cohesive platform, allowing town employees to view, update and create work orders in real time, from the field. And through each step of development, Losquadro said foremen and town workers who would be using the technology on a daily basis provided their feedback.

Matt Sabatello, who works in the town’s tech department, worked alongside a dedicated crew of in-house developers to grow the mobile application and make it accessible for all town employees. With more than a decade of experience working with the town already under his belt, Sabatello said he has seen the arc of technological advancement go into overdrive under Losquadro’s direction.

Some of the interactive features Losquadro and his team helped to launch over the past year included color-coded visual queues identifying outstanding work orders, a display of all open work orders prioritized by the date created and a new “follow me” GPS-enabled feature that could be used to identify problem areas as well as track town vehicles when they are out in the field.

“If you see something, create a work order,” Losquadro said, playing off the Metropolitan Transportation Authority slogan, “if you see something, say something.”

And the efficiencies stretch far beyond a run-of-the-mill pothole fix, too. John Giannott, a senior administrator with the highway department, said the mobile technology has made Brookhaven’s response time to serious weather events such as severe snowfall nearly two hours quicker.

“We keep finding new uses for this every day,” he said. “It puts you ahead of the curve, because all your assets are tracked.”

The “green” technology has also allowed the town to apply for state grants and emergency relief funds in a more efficient way, making Brookhaven that much more equipped for more green.

Looking ahead, Losquadro said he hoped to see other facets of Brookhaven government follow suit in implementing such technology. He said he has already seen an interest from the town board to use similar platforms to track constituent complaints.

“I had a vision of how I wanted to transform this department,” he said. “Working with them allowed us to move to this point in less than three years.”

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.

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.

The Sagtikos Parkway. Photo from NYSDOT

Members of the public will get to weigh in on the future of the Sagtikos-Sunken Meadow Parkway at two New York State Department of Transportation informational meetings next week.

The state department is seeking input for a Sagtikos State Parkway/Sunken Meadow Parkway Operational Study. The goal of the study is to “examine how the roadway functions, identify causes of traffic congestion and accidents and determine how the corridor will function in the future.”

According to the DOT, an average of 90,000 vehicles per day use the Sagtikos-Sunken Meadow State Parkway.

Residents, businesses, and all interested groups are encouraged to attend and provide input regarding the Sagtikos-Sunken Meadow Parkway Study within the towns of Islip, Babylon, Smithtown and Huntington, the department said in a statement.

The meetings will take place on Tuesday, April 14, and Thursday, April 16, 2015. The April 14 meeting is being held at Deer Park High School, 1 Falcon Place, Deer Park, between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The April 16 meeting is being held at William T. Rogers Middle School, 97 Old Dock Road, Kings Park, between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Study-area maps, traffic and accident data, and other related information will be on hand for review. State engineers and representatives will be available to answer questions and receive comments on this operational study.

“Input and suggestions from the local community are strongly encouraged,” according to a DOT statement.

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.