After awarding contracts for phase-one of the city’s road reconstruction project for wards 1, 2, 5, and 6, the city council this week awarded contracts for the remaining wards: 3rd and 4th.
A $3,857,536 contract was awarded to Wallington-based Smith-Sondy Asphalt Construction which placed the lowest bid. One other firm, Tilcon New York bid on the project, for $4,372,780, according to city records.
The initial bid for the 3rd and 4th Ward roads came in at an unaffordable amount for the city. It went for bids again by reducing few of the road reconstructions.
City officials have said this will not mean some of the roads listed in mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ 170 primary roads reconstruction project will not get done. All 170 roads will be reconstructed, reassured city officials.
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, asked for a construction schedule that would allow him to see when each of the roads is slated for completion. The schedule should also show which roads will be finished this year and which will be pushed to next year, he said.
“We’re going to run into the fall pretty soon,” said Morris. He said he doesn’t want the contractors to attempt to do more roads than they can properly do in order to finish the roads before the cold weather rears its head.
“I don’t want them to rush through this process. I want them to take their time, do them right, so we get some useful life out of these roads.”
Alex Mendez, councilman at-large, said he wants some sort of a road opening moratorium that would prevent utility companies from cutting up the roads when they do work in the city. Torres has said the Passaic Valley Water Commission pipes that run under the roads will be inspected prior to reconstruction of each of the road to prevent road destruction after completion.
Mendez said he wants to put in an ordinance to bar companies from opening the reconstructed roads. “If we don’t make these changes, we’re going to go through the resurfacing process, and we we’re going to have companies, let’s say the Passaic Valley Water Commission, opening our roads,” he said.
Council members approved the contract for 3rd and 4th Wards on Tuesday evening. Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman, and Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, voted against awarding the contract.
“I’d love city roads to be fixed, to be repaved, to be reconstructed, but the financial situation the city is in it makes absolutely no sense to go out there and continue this project,” said Tavarez. He said the city recently had to borrow to make insurance payments to illustrate the dire straits of municipal finances.
Both Tavarez and Sayegh opposed Torres’ borrowing plan and other contracts that were awarded for the mayor’s road reconstruction plan.
“It’s almost crazy to continue moving forward with this plan,” said Tavarez.