Photo by Christina Santucci
154th Street and 26th Avenue
By Joe Anuta

After an outcry earlier this year over botched repaving jobs that caused flooding, the city has again slathered some of Flushing’s streets with too much pavement, residents said.

On April 12, residents complained about a construction firm repaving the roads surrounding St. Mel School, near the intersection of 27th Avenue and 154th Street.

Crews milled down the surface near the edges, but left the middle of the road untouched, according to eyewitnesses. The crews then layered so much pavement on top that in several places the roadway was within an inch of the curb.

But the city Department of Design and Construction, which hired the crew to repave the road, said inspectors walked the project site Monday and found no ponding or flooding from the 3 inches of rain the area received over the weekend, a spokesman said.

But the project is not complete and before the contractor gets its final payment for the job, an inspector is supposed to walk the site and make sure there is at least 7 inches of curb sticking up above the roadway.

According to the spokesman, that ensures there is enough curb to allow water to flow into nearby catch basins.

Many sections of the curb around St. Mels appeared to stick up only an inch or two, but DDC said contractors opened a nearby hydrant and found the water properly flowed along the street.

The paving situation is familiar to Paul Graziano, a homeowner and zoning expert, who spoke at a news conference in January to denounce a similar paving job by the city Department of Transportation.

In that case, too, crews hired by the city did not mill down the road and put so much pavement on top that it often rose above the curb.

And when it rains, water that would have been guided by the curb into a catch basin now flows into homeowners’ yards and driveways, flooding the sides of the street.

“It’s a real problem,” Graziano said of the rainfall last weekend. “If we hadn’t been in a drought for the last month, it would have been terrible.”

Graziano said inspectors from DOT were supposed to come and inspect the roads earlier this year, but the agency has repeated the job on other streets in the neighborhood, including 33rd Avenue, which appeared to have much less than 7 inches of curb protruding above the roadway.

Graziano said the agency is repaving streets all over the neighborhood, regardless of their condition.

“The DOT should be paving streets that need them, not just because they are on some computerized system,” he said.

In January, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said the schedule for repairing curbs is way behind the schedule for repaving streets, and the cobblestone curbs along many Flushing streets were in bad enough shape before being nearly covered in asphalt.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.



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