Press Releases

Press Release #19-001
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Contact: Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (212) 839-4850

De Blasio Administration Announces Progress in Efforts to Reduce and Improve “Street Cuts” on Staten Island

With commitments made during City Hall in Your Borough last summer, NYC DOT, DEP and DDC collaborate to protect freshly-paved streets from utility work – and when work is necessary, restoring streets quickly and effectively

New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, along with the NYC Department of Design & Construction (DDC) and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced progress in their efforts to improve coordination to prevent utility cuts on freshly-paved City streets – and when those cuts are necessary, effectively restore the street. The progress announced today covers initiatives announced last summer as part of City Hall in Your Borough to address concerns about street cuts, an important matter to Staten Islanders and championed by Borough President Jimmy Oddo.

“Borough President Oddo has rightly held City agencies to account around the frustrating practice of freshly paved streets getting cut open for utility work,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Under Mayor de Blasio, we have paved more than a quarter of New York City’s streets, including record productivity on Staten Island. We are happy to report to Staten Islanders real progress in our efforts to work with our sister agencies and our utility partners to make sure that those streets stay freshly paved. However, if and when the streets are cut open, we will also make sure they are restored to as good as new.”

“Reducing the number of necessary street cuts and properly restoring those that are made will help to ensure smoother and safer roadways on Staten Island,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Coordinating water and sewer repairs with our partners at DOT and DDC makes sense and we look forward to continuing that work in 2019.”

“These improvements are resulting in better and safer streets for everyone,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “I commend Borough President Oddo for helping to bring everyone together to develop these simple and effective measures.”

“We are beginning to inject common sense into a process that has lacked it badly. When you cut up a freshly paved road you are actually undercutting the credibility of city government,” said Borough President Oddo. “As we continue the historic resurfacing run that is Pave, Baby, Pave, we need to update and improve all others processes that involve the integrity of our roads. I commend the Administration, particularly Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin, and look forward to continuing to work with her to install the best system possible.”

Last summer, City agencies began these implementing the following changes to street-cut protocol:

Pilot program: DOT and DEP began actively coordinating the milling of roadways with the inspection and repair of DEP’s water and sewer infrastructure. Under the pilot, after the roadway is milled, but before it is resurfaced, DEP crews inspect manhole covers, catch basins, fire hydrants, sewers and other hardware, and made any necessary repairs. The likelihood of the newly resurfaced roadway necessitating an emergency street cut for the repair of water or sewer infrastructure was therefore significantly reduced. This pilot will be remain in place during the 2019 paving season.

Rule changes and DOT/DEP coordination: DOT implemented new rules that provide specific guidance to utilities around street cuts. The new rules lay out the ideal geometry of a street cut (straight cut, squared is ideal), the proper means to backfill a cut and the appropriate type of concrete to use. After training DEP in these methods, DOT’s inspections revealed a marked improvement in work quality and durability.

DOT and DEP coordinated several projects that included work around their training facility, jointly restoring DEP street cuts that allowed the agencies to work with DEP hardware and DOT paving equipment on the same project. In the coming season, the agencies plan to increase these joint opportunities. For its part, DEP also hired additional supervisors to coordinate restorations.

Coordination with National Grid: Staten Island’s major provider of natural gas agreed to share its comprehensive multi-year capital plan with DOT to improve coordination and planning.

More efficient permit management: In addition, DOT put new protocols in place to allow contractors and utilities to enter their applications directly into DOT’s permit management system. National Grid converted from a previous internal system to the NYCStreets permit system in late November. Con Edison had previously switched over to this direct connection in late 2017. On average, utilities hold 80% of street opening permits in the five boroughs, with private contractors and plumbers responsible for 20%.

Increased DDC project oversight: DDC improved its oversight of its own road restoration projects by adding additional inspections on active projects that actively review road conditions on each project. DDC is also working with contractors to add a coat of temporary asphalt – for a smoother driving surface -- wherever possible until final restoration and paving can occur. DDC also procured five manhole restoration contracts and a contract to implement full restorations for pedestrian ramps at all of its locations.

Other initiatives:As part of its efforts, agencies began separate pilots around milled street coordination and saw cut excavations, as well as additional of excavation markers to quickly identify defects.