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September 15, 2012

 

NYSEG work irks city

Utility work damaging recently repaved city streets

NYSEGBob Ellis/staff photographer
Workers from DDS Companies, a contractor for New York State Electric and Gas, install a new gas line Friday along Clayton Avenue. City officials are upset NYSEG did not coordinate with the city to do the work either before or when the street was repaved last year.

By NEIL BENJAMIN JR.
Staff Reporter
nbenjamin@cortlandstandardnews.net

City leaders are frustrated over what they say is a lack of coordination by New York State Electric and Gas that has lead to utility work being done on streets recently repaved.
A contractor for NYSEG is replacing gas lines along Clayton Avenue, which the city spent $42,000 repaving last year. The company is replacing gas lines that run beneath the sidewalk on both sides of the street.
“This has become the burr under my saddle,” said Department of Public Works Superintendent Chris Bistocchi, who added that NYSEG is granted every permit it needs for the work it does.
Bistocchi, Mayor Brian Tobin, Aldermen Katy Silliman and Julie Bird met Thursday with NYSEG’s Gas Construction Supervisor Doug Stafford to bring attention to the issue.
Bistocchi said he told NYSEG at least a year in advance the project was being done.
Bistocchi said the city tries to coordinate with the gas company to lessen the amount of construction on a given road, while also saving money for both the city and NYSEG.
“They really should have done their work either in conjunction with my work, or before I paved the road,” Bistocchi said. “I mean, they had an 18-month heads up we were doing the work.”
The work on Clayton Avenue has also affected the sewer system, Tobin and Bistocchi said.
When NYSEG does work, it is responsible for fixing anything that breaks because of the work.
Stafford said NYSEG has fixed every issue the work has created on Clayton Avenue. Tobin said NYSEG would fix any resident’s water or sewer problems that arise because of the work.
Tobin said the same situation happened on Broadway over the summer. In 2009, the DPW repaved the street.
NYSEG, which contracts with Rochester-based DDS Companies, replaced 1,350 feet of gas piping from Tompkins Street to Warren Street. When the work was done, Bistocchi said the city had to patch the holes left by the cuts, which came out of DPW’s yearly fund.
“The Clayton project has just brought all this to a head,” Tobin said. “We have concerns they are damaging the 100-year-old (water) laterals.”
Laterals are the pipes that bring water from the main line to individual houses. When they are broken by NYSEG’s work, the company patches them with a plastic mold, something Bistocchi and Tobin agree could create problems down the road.
Stafford said the work done when something goes wrong is standard procedure and would not elaborate further. He said that if another issue occurs with the lateral within six months of a project, NYSEG will come back and fix it.
Stafford claimed NYSEG was not aware of the work the DPW was doing.
“If we know ahead of time, we can work together,” he said.
He also said that the city needed to give NYSEG its plans for 2013 by June 2012.
Silliman (D-2nd Ward) was blunt in some of her comments to NYSEG.
“You really need to think about what’s coming up on your schedule and be in touch with us because it affects a lot of people,” she said.
Bistocchi said one of the good things to come out of the Clayton Avenue NYSEG work is that the entire sidewalk will be redone and paid for by the company.
The work has been an annoyance for William and Luella Gay, who have lived on Clayton Avenue for more than 40 years.
William Gay said it is great the work is getting done, but he just recently had the sidewalk on his property redone.
“If I had known two years ago, I would have not done the work and spent the money,” he said.

 

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