Extensive road renovations are already taking place in Wallkill with the installation of new sidewalks, and the entire hamlet will be able to enjoy freshly-paved roads in the coming weeks. At the Shawangunk Town Board meeting on Sept. 21, Town Supervisor John Valk noted that the confluence of projects will result in major upgrades to town roads.
“The residents in the Wallkill hamlet should see a big difference in their streets,” he said, “with the new sidewalks around here (Town Hall), the new bridge, the new pavement. So there’s a lot of money being spent in Wallkill.”
Highway Superintendent Joseph LoCicero says that his department is raring to go with the hamlet-wide paving project. “First we’re doing complete blacktopping on Buena Vista and Second and Third Street,” he explained. “Once that’s done, we’re jumping into the hamlet, which we split into an east and west side. So it’ll be everything behind the middle school, Lavoletta, Viola, First and Fourth Street. Then we’ll jump to the other side of town, because due to the construction in the hamlet with the sidewalks and the curbs, we’re not doing any of those streets, just to stay out of the way. We’ll do Hulse, Orchard, Crittenden, Pleasant, Berry, all those streets on that side. It’s the whole hamlet.” The refurbishments have a tentative start date of the first week of October for Buena Vista, Second and Third Street, with an expected week off after that before the rest of the hamlet paving is finished.
Valk said that residents have been patiently waiting for such a project. “I would say it’s been 20 years since we did all of the streets in the hamlet,” he said. “The nice part is they’re doing a lot of prep work for drainage, putting catch basins in. It’ll stay nice for a number of years. The biggest problem we have is water main breaks. They have to dig up the pavement and it leaves a dip.”
Once the paving project begins next month, it should be wrapped up quickly. “They’re telling me they can do all the rip-up, all the millings in three days for the whole hamlet,” LoCicero said. “Then we’ll have the paving, so I’m going to say it will take 7-10 days total.” The Highway Department is trucking the paving materials themselves from Kingston, which is expected to save $30,000 in delivery costs. “We save $9 a ton if we use our trucks to bring all the materials in and out of the hamlet,” LoCicero said. “It’s almost like the fire service, you get mutual aid from the other towns. Gardiner, Crawford and Montgomery have borrowed trucks from us over the years to do their jobs, so now they’ll come in and help us.”
During Thursday’s meeting, the board approved a measure to spend $42,018 on a new 2018 Dodge Ram truck for the Highway Department. The gas-powered vehicle will replace a 2003 diesel pickup truck that’s on its last legs, and will be acquired in 10-12 weeks through the state bidding system. The new truck will be utilized by LoCicero for departmental use. “We’re going to put that truck up for auction and sell it,” he said of the old vehicle. “The truck that I use is a standard-bed, standard-cab truck, and when I’m working with other companies and engineers, it’s very difficult to do that with a two-person truck. Because we need another truck in the line, we’ll take mine and put a flatbed on it.”
The Weekend of Wallkill was a smashing success last Friday and Saturday, as crowds descended upon the Town Hall area in the hamlet to enjoy food from local restaurants and family activities. “We had a nice crowd, plenty to do for the kids,” Vision of Wallkill organizer Paul Mader said. “We had over 100 kids there easily, and they kept running through the bounce house all day. We had a petting zoo for them, pony rides, Touch a Truck. It was fantastic. We were really happy with it. It was our fourth year and we’re hoping our fifth next year will be even better.”
By Ted Remsnyder