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Allegheny County Public Works begins 45-mile paving season Monday

Aaron Aupperlee

Allegheny County will open its road construction season Monday when Department of Public Works crews start paving portions of North Ridge Road in North Park.

“It’s that time of the year,” said county Manager William McKain.

The county hopes to repair and pave 45 miles of road this year, 50 percent more than the 30 miles it worked on last year. The budget for road work increased to about $12.8 million this year, $3.8 million more than the $9 million the county spent last year.

The county has major reconstruction and paving work planned for Fox Chapel, Stroschein, Lorish, Jacks Run and Middle roads from Wildwood Road to Route 910. Middle Road is being paved under a federal project, and the county will receive $2.2 million from Washington for the work.

The county has repaired sections of Fox Chapel Road previously, but it will completely repave it this year from Delafield Road to Guys Run Road.

“We’ve bought some time, but it’s time to go back and repave the road,” Public Works Director Stephen G. Shanley said.

The county will chip-seal four roads and mill and pave 12. Start dates for many of the projects have not been set.

It costs the county about $1 million a mile to reconstruct and repave a road, which is expected to last 15 to 20 years. Those projects are bid to outside contractors. In-house paving costs about $200,000 a mile, and the road surface is expected to last about eight to 10 years.

McKain and Shanley said a $5 fee added to vehicle registrations in the county and a milling machine the county bought last year make the additional road work possible. The county bought the milling machine, which grinds up asphalt and dumps it into a truck, for $439,000 last year, about twice as much as the county spent to rent the machine in past years.

The machine can grind a 4-foot-wide and up to 1-foot-deep lane. The old asphalt is often recycled.

With the milling machine, the county can run two road crews at once, Shanley said. The county hired four additional full-time employees and four seasonal employees to keep up with the work, McKain said.

Of the $12.8 million budgeted for road paving, 68 percent will come from bonds the county sold, 17 percent from the federal government and 15 percent from the $5 vehicle registration fee. The county expects the $5 fee to generate $3.5 million this year. It put $1.9 million from the fee directly into the road paving budget. Another $1 million will help pay for the additional employees. The county used $600,000 as matching funds to unlock more than $20 million in federal funding for upcoming work on the Seventh Street Bridge.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or [email protected].


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