Dundee streetscape project work begins
DUNDEE--Work has begun on the $1.8 million streetscape improvement project in Dundee. When finished, the work will include new downtown sidewalks, a resurfaced Main Street, enhanced landscaping with new planters and new streetlights. Due to the fact the project is not only designed to improve the aesthetics of the village but also mitigate flooding, construction has been authorized to begin as other projects were stopped by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
"Work is still going on because it falls under the essential guidelines because it's a safety factor with the flooding and stormwater," said Dundee Mayor Fred Cratsley. "The work crew has been modified, meaning there are not as many workers as if we didn't have COVID-19 and the work crews are smaller."
Workers from Nelson and Streeter Construction have already begun to rip up some sidewalks and started performing saw cuts to the road where areas will be dug up near the four corners area of Water Street, Seneca, Main, and Union Street.
"The whole area starts at the school on 14A, then goes to Spring Street and Hollister up that 14A corridor, then it just goes up Seneca Street a couple 100 feet and then Union all the way to the front of the village office," Cratsley said. "That's the direction of the stormwater flow. Once finished the surface water and runoff will go into a stormwater system that will flow from each direction to a pipe underground Union Street that will flow through the village park and into Big Stream."
While the flooding after heavy rain has not been overly visual with high waters, it still creates problems.
"There has always been standing water (in front of Douglas B. Miles Agency on Main Street) created by low-level flood problems and during the winter that can turn into ice which creates a walking problem," Cratsley said.
Beyond the project's design to mitigate flooding and make the area safer for pedestrians with the addition of a crosswalk, the finished project will also have a big impact on the streetscape appearance in Dundee.
"For years there have been very few facelifts of the village business section, this will be a big boost to it," Cratsley said. "Even though the goal of the project is stormwater remediation, the end result is going to be what everyone will see which will be an upgrade for the street along the business district. The goal of which is to improve our community so tourists can stop and visit the beautiful village that we do have."
Along with being excited, Cratsley also admitted to being nervous.
"I'm excited, it's going to be a change, but I'm also nervous of the drastic change. Nobody likes change, and now my nerves are ramping up that we did the right thing, even though I believe that we already have," Cratsley said.
He added there will be inconveniences associated with the construction, which is scheduled to take place this year and next year, but the end result will justify any issues. Construction, which is expected to ramp up to five to six days a week pending approval, will last this year until the fall and then start up the following year and be finished by June. Cratsley said the current plan is for all the flood remediation work, including paving, grading, pipework and sidewalk work to be finished this year, while all planting and the installation of new street lights will take place the following year.
"The state transportation department has strict guidelines, along with other involved agencies, that were in place before COVID-19," Cratsley stated. "[Despite that] come October (2020) work has to be finished and everything has to be back up and paved again. Nelson and Streeter feel confident they can get that all done by winter of this year."
In the works since 2015, the streetscape improvement project was initially expected to cost about $1.4 million but is now expected to cost roughly $1.8 million. Cratsley said the late addition of new streetlights is the reason for the increase in the budget. As it stands roughly $1.3 million is being paid through grants with the remaining $500,000 being bonded out by the village. In the past, Cratsley said the village will attempt to obtain additional grants to mitigate the debt the village accrues from the project.
Cratsley added the village staff is assisting with parts of the work which has allowed the village to save roughly $200,000 on the project.
"The majority of the remaining balance (roughly $400,000) will come from the in-kind work... [the village] receives monetary credit for multiple things throughout the project when we assist the contractors," Cratsley said.