The industrial area, which has become increasingly residential in recent years, is slated to receive $2 million for road reconstruction. In addition to the street work, privately owned sidewalks which present a safety risk to pedestrians will also be incorporated into the plan at the owners' expense.
Bidding for the contract is expected to begin in September. The project should be completed by Thanksgiving according to Joe Peluso, Director of Environmental Services.
Will have to dig up shifting cobblestones
"This particular area is something that has to be done," said Peluso. The streets selected for the reconstruction effort will be Adams Street from Eleventh through Fourteenth, Grand Street from Twelfth through Fourteenth, and Twelfth Street from Jefferson to Grand.
In order to make the necessary improvements, the road will have to be dug out completely, replacing the cobblestone foundation, which in some places is over a foot below the road's surface, with a base mixture comprised of rock and blacktop before asphalt can be laid.
Over the years, the cobblestones, which were placed at least 120 years ago and still reside below most of Hoboken's roads, have caved in and shifted.
The potholes one feels while driving through town are a result of that shift. In some places, the holes go as deep as three and a half inches, stretching as long 17 feet and exposing the cobblestones itself.
In order to get this done before the cold weather, which causes asphalt manufacturing plants to stop production, the project is set to begin immediately after the bidding process is complete. Early estimates provided by Peluso place the cost for reconstructing of one city block at approximately $100,000, which is more than twice as much as it would cost to simply mill and pave the same area.
The bigger picture
In addition to reconstructing the roads, the city plans to improve the quality of the surrounding sidewalks. Over 40 summonses have already been issued to companies and individuals for unsafe and/or nonexistent sidewalks in the area.
"It's dangerous just to walk down there," said 5th Ward Councilman Michael Cricco, who has been a major proponent of road reconstruction there for years. "We're going to change it from an industrial area to a residential area."
Rather than waiting for each separate sidewalk to be improved on an individual basis, the city plans to make repairs where necessary and bill the owners at a later date. If the individuals refuse to pay for the repairs made, Cricco promises legal consequences.
"We are going to take them to court and put a lien on their property," warns Cricco.
In addition to road and sidewalk repairs, the city will be adding Americans with Disabilities Act-approved ramps for wheelchair-using individuals.
There will also be new trees to beautify the area.
"The road reconstruction program is part of my ongoing quality of life program for the betterment of the entire community," said Mayor David Roberts. "It is important to engage in an ongoing road improvement program which will ultimately help drivers as well as pedestrians."
Michael Mullins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org