In late March 2012, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald announced that more than two dozen bridge and highway transportation infrastructure contracts valued at more than $150.5 million will be undertaken across the state this year in locations ranging from the North Country to the Southern Tier and western New York to Long Island.
Three months later work began on what Region 7 termed one of its more notable projects, the reconstruction of a stretch of U.S. Route 11 as it passes through the village of Canton in upstate St. Lawrence County.
Describing the project as “a significant investment in a community,” Michael R. Flick, P.E., assistant to the regional director/public information officer of NYSDOT Region 7, said that, “The existing highway infrastructure in the village of Canton is in terrible shape, and there are also municipal utilities there that are old and failing. It was time for a project.”
The project involves the full reconstruction of the downtown business district, with consideration given to ornamental features, such as lampposts, plantings, benches, etc. The residential portion of the project will retain the same general highway lane configuration, advocated for by local residents, but also will include utility upgrades and full reconstruction of the existing highway cross section.
“During the development phase of the project, we formed a Stakeholder Advisory Committee and have had constant contact with the local government ever since.
There are some in the village that opposed the project, saying that it would hinder the chances of a bypass ever being built or would derail efforts for the Rooftop Highway, but the project is sorely needed. There were, and have been, active failures of the storm drainage system that resulted in sinkholes,” Flick said.
Luck Brothers Inc. of Plattsburgh, N.Y., is serving as general contractor for the 1-mi. (1.6 km) job, which runs from the intersection of Route 68 to the intersection with Stiles Avenue.
Work on the job started at the beginning of July 2012. With a scheduled completion date of November 30, 2013, funding for the approximately $9.6 million project is provided by a mix of federal, state, and village of Canton sources.
“This project involves major replacement of underground utilities, including water, sewer, storm drainage, electric, gas, phone, and cable TV. There are constant issues with unknown location of existing utilities. Many test pits are used to try to locate existing utilities. Sometimes redesign is necessary, as has been the case on numerous occasions,” said Ted Luck, president of Luck Brothers Inc.
Project Manager Travis Luck, Project Superintendent Tim Everleth, and approximately 20 Luck Brothers employees are working onsite. Features of the job include installation of new LED traffic signals timed for maximum efficiency in operation, provision of mid-block crossways, and improving sidewalks and ramps to meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements
Equipment currently working on the project includes a Volvo EC305C excavator, Caterpillar D6K GPS dozer, and Volvo L110E loader, which are carrying out sanitary placement, followed by mass excavation. A Hitachi Z225 excavator, Volvo L90E loader, Caterpillar 323 roller, Volvo EW180 rubber-tired excavator, and a Volvo ECR88 excavator are installing waterlines, storm drainage, and service laterals, and a Barber Greene 260D paver, Ingersoll Rand DD110 roller, and Caterpillar 534 roller are placing pavement when needed. Major reconstruction activity is slated to begin soon.
“One unusual aspect of this job is that it involves literally every underground utility you might encounter, as well as three borings under an active CSX Rail track. It also includes a voluntary off-site detour around the Canton business district, controlled by temporary traffic signals. Since U.S. Route 11 is the main east-west route in upstate N.Y., traffic is extremely heavy and a constant challenge. Another unusual aspect is that all paving must be completed at night,” Luck said.
“We are nearing completion of a very similar $11 million project in downtown Barre, Vt., with the only exception being that the highway was closed down to traffic in phases to expedite construction. On that project we have been working around the clock four days per week all summer,” he said.
Major subcontractors working on the job include Collins Concrete (concrete curbing and sidewalks); Geneva Curb & Concrete Company Inc. (granite curbing); Stilsing Electric Inc. (street lighting and traffic signals); and Straight Line Industries Inc. (striping). Syrstone Inc. (precast stone pavers); EMI Guiderail, LLC (signs and guiderail). North Country Garden Center (landscaping and seeding); Killian Inc. (pavement milling); and Black River Tree Removal (clearing and tree removal) also are contributing to the project, while Engineers Construction Inc. (ECI), handled three bores under the railroad.
Luck Brothers Inc., was founded in 1969. Specializing in heavy highway and bridge construction and working in New York State, New Hampshire, and Vermont, the company operates under unusual conditions in that it is only able to perform work nine months a year due to severe winter weather at its location. Luck Brothers’ other services include sewer and water projects, resurfacing, airport construction, commercial and institutional buildings, sheeting, piling, and all types of concrete work. The company is currently carrying out a $5.2 million highway improvement on U.S. Route 11 in Ellenburg and an $8.8 million twin bridge replacement on I-87 over the Delaware & Hudson Railroad in Plattsburgh, N.Y., both NYSDOT projects. Past jobs include artificial turf athletic fields at Clarkson University and various other high schools in N.Y., the $14 million Winooski Downtown Development project in Winooski, Vt., the $15 million Plattsburgh College Suites Housing project in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and dozens of major highway and bridge projects throughout northeastern N.Y.