December 31, 2020
From Steuben County Spokesperson Mary Perham:
BATH – Despite expected cuts next year in state funding for highway repair, the Steuben County Public Works new Five Year Road Plan expects to continue with road maintenance and repair projects in 2021. County Public Works Commissioner Vince Spagnoletti told the county Legislature’s Public Works Committee plans next year include 26 miles of reconstruction and paving projects at a cost of $3.6 million. The projects’ costs come in slightly above the state’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) anticipated 2021 allotment of $3.5 million. CHIPS funding is expected to be cut by 20 percent next year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with the state budget strained by the impact of COVID-19. Now entering its third cycle in Steuben, the Cornell University Road Surface Management System has been credited with significant improvements in road conditions in Steuben. One notable improvement is the decline in poor roads from 122 miles in 1998 to the current 10 miles located on county roads 5, 9 and 86. The plan uses a road condition system which looks at a number of factors including roughness, local traffic, cracks, patching, potholes, and rutting. Each category is assigned a value, with roughness and local traffic rated at 45 percent and 35 percent respectively, he said. Spagnoletti told the committee the new Five Year Plan relies on full CHIPS funding to be restored in 2022-2025, in order to maintain the county’s high standing of excellence. Committee members praised the system, which allows flexibility in road work. The new road plan was developed by Public Works staff members Zach Conklin, Andy Barbato and Jesse Charles. The division is overseen by county Deputy Public Works Commissioner Doug Rapalee.