Press Releases

Press Release #13-56
October 15, 2013
Seth Solomonow/Nicole Garcia (DOT) (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan Announces Innovative Resurfacing of 53-block Stretch of First Avenue, the Latest in $6 Billion of State of Good Repair Projects in Just Six Years

Thin layer of specially formulated asphalt now covers notoriously rough concrete road, making it safer and more accessible for buses, pedestrians, bikes and motor vehicles

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the completion of a $7 million project to resurface First Avenue from 72nd to 125th streets using an innovative, thin-asphalt overlay atop the notoriously uneven concrete road at a fraction of the cost of a complete rebuilding. The 53-block project provides a smooth surface for pedestrians—including 48,000 runners expected at next month’s marathon—and makes it safer and more accessible for the 60,000 daily bus, vehicle and bike riders who cross 60th Street daily, as well as for thousands of pedestrians. Select Bus Service was launched in 2010 and the street has been redesigned curb-to-curb in phases from Houston Street, adding high-visibility bus lanes for the M15 SBS, pedestrian refuge islands and parking-protected bike paths. This effort is just one of the many DOT projects designed to keep the city’s transportation network in a state of good repair.

“The future has finally caught up with First Avenue to provide better transit, driving, biking and walking through science,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “This innovative asphalt is more than just the alchemy of stronger, better-performing streets. It’s part of an incredible $6 billion investment in nearly 1,000 projects over the last six years to keep our city’s infrastructure in a state of good repair.”

“The high-tech asphalt overlay resurfacing of First Avenue will bring relief to residents and businesses who suffered 24/7 from the earth shattering pounding of vehicles barreling up First Avenue on what was previously a concrete roadway,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin. “This new surface, along with the recent addition of bike paths and Select Bus Service, makes for a much improved experience on First Avenue.”

First Avenue north of 72nd Street was reconstructed in 1983 with concrete, taking advantage of the then-low cost of concrete. While durable, decades of wear and tear on this material made repairs difficult and expensive to maintain. DOT in recent years has developed a technique of applying a one-inch layer of highly modified asphalt developed by NuStar Energy atop concrete to extend the useful life of the concrete roadbed without costly rehabilitation. The innovative asphalt mix uses a high percentage of performance-enhancing polymer to increase its strength and durability while remaining easy to apply by resurfacing crews. The preparatory work was performed by C. Lizza & Sons under a contract managed by the City’s Department of Design and Construction and will postpone the need for a complete road rebuilding for several years, leading to potentially significant cost savings.

The resurfacing of First Avenue is one of many recent projects to restore and rehabilitate aging infrastructure. The nearly completed East Fordham Road reconstruction project in the Bronx rebuilt the roadway, resurfacing 2.2 lane miles of the street with new asphalt and replacing vital underground infrastructure. The $15.3M effort also included new sidewalks and a planted median, creating a new and improved gateway to the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Gardens. Similarly, DOT addressed more than three miles of Eastern Parkway with a $6.9 million capital project to enhance safety and extend the tree-lined walking and bicycle paths to Grand Army Plaza with wider sidewalks, benches and lighting.

On Staten Island, DOT completed the first of a series of intersection improvements to address congestion along major corridors by widening the roadway and introducing new turn lanes to ease traffic flow. These included the $7.8M project to address Hylan Boulevard at Fieldway, Chesterton and Cleveland avenues and at Buffalo Street, which was completed in June 2013. Last month, work wrapped up on construction to widen Amboy and Annadale roads, a $6.6M investment. The next set of intersections to undergo reconstruction includes Victory Boulevard at Clove and Manor roads and Forest and South avenues, which are currently in design.

Safety remained a focus of the soon-to-be completed $10.2M reconstruction of Nassau Avenue from Manhattan Avenue to Apollo Street in Greenpoint. Safety treatments were added to 14 intersections. This project included the reconstruction of 2.4 lane miles and additional improvements that updated subsurface infrastructure and added new lighting, granite curbs and sidewalks. The agency also completed a $5.7M project in Queens to replace the Cooper Avenue retaining wall. Improvements were made from 73rd Place to 79th Drive, including widening the sidewalk along the wall, resurfacing and new street lighting, among other enhancements.

Investments in infrastructure also are visible in the many current and recently completed DOT bridge projects. These include the $555M rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge, the work to rebuild the St. George Staten Island Ferry Terminal ramps—a $184 million project that uses Federal funding. Other active projects include work along the Belt Parkway bridges. The majority of work is completed for the $365M reconstruction of the Fresh Creek, Rockaway Parkway and Paerdegat Basin bridges, with punch list items remaining. Work continues to restore the other bridges, including on the Gerritsen Basin—a $100M investment—and the Bay Ridge Avenue bridge—a $10M investment.

For more information on these and other infrastructure investments, visit

Conditions on First Avenue pre repaving.
First Avenue before repaving
Conditions on First Avenue post repaving
First Avenue after repaving