There will be more construction on Central New York's roads and bridges this summer. Through the governor's NY Works program, contractors will improve more than a dozen bridges and nearly 170 miles of pavement in the region. As our Kat De Maria tells us, officials are commending the program for its potential improvements to infrastructure and also the economy.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It may look like a construction site more than a milestone. But it's both. The first project started in the Syracuse area under the governor's NY Works program.
NY Works involves fast-tracking preventative bridge work and road paving and bundling projects, like the local one.
"This was a package of 13 bridges, similar in scope, so that the contractor could go out and get the work started this construction season," said New York State Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.
The project is worth some $17 million and was awarded to a local contractor out of Warners. McDonald says a quarter of construction workers aren't working. Slate Hill Constructors hasn't been immune to the trends.
"We've had 12 to15 bidders on every project, so there are a lot of contractors really interested in trying to get some work done. Right now, the state is getting a good bargain because people are so hungry for work and there is lots of available labor and materials and equipment," said Slate Hill President Jeff Hanlon.
Some of the projects are already underway, like on West Adams Street over Onondaga Creek. They're all expected to be finished next year. And that'll mean lots more construction. But McDonald says that's not a bad thing.
"Construction on our highways is a good thing because it's putting people to work and making those investments," she said.
Hanlon says he'd prefer a more permanent funding source, but is grateful for the work for now.
"It's going to help us put the rest of our people back to work and hopefully hire a few more," Hanlon said.
McDonald also stressed the importance of taking care when driving through the extra work zones this and next construction season.