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Onondaga County and City of Syracuse begin to wrap up road work for the season

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Scott Willis
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WAER News
Onondaga County Department of Transportation Commissioner Marty Voss points out some of the 800 miles of road the county oversees (in red).

Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse are beginning to wrap up this year’s road re-paving projects and preparing for winter.

The County oversees about 800 miles of roadway. Department of Transportation commissioner Marty Voss says they’ve exceeded their annual goal of treating or paving 100 miles for the season.

"There's a hot mix, which is a fresh asphalt that goes on the high-volume roads. There's a cold mixed product that's called cold mix. It's really a warm mix that goes on the more rural lower volume roads, and then we have what's called surface treatment, which is a pavement preservation technique that we use a lot of because it's very effective at extending the life of the highway."

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r.nial.bradshaw
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Voss says they work with two contractors who also pick up state, town, and village projects. He says county crews usually do the preparation work, including replacing storm water infrastructure under the road. Voss says it’s far less involved than the city’s Dig Once projects where utilities are dense.

"In our case, it might be three or four storm drains on a mile road that's not nearly the volume of replacing hundreds of different pieces of utility and conduit in an urban area. For the most part, we're able to do it as a matter of course and get those things done when we mill up the road. We then proceed to replace those cross culverts and those pipes."

Of course, weather plays a significant factor in determining just how much work can get done in a given season. Syracuse Chief operating officer Corey Driscoll Dunham says the dry summer conditions were helpful. The city has been able to pave more than half of its 21-mile goal. Dunham hopes they can tackle the rest before the weather doesn’t let them.

"We just need it to stay dry. We can pave in cooler temperatures. When we start getting out of the 50s, that's when it starts getting a little more difficult to roll out the asphalt, but hopefully, we've got a while before we get to that point."

After a rainy few days, it looks like crews will have a solid week or more of dry conditions and temperatures in the 60s to make significant progress.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.