Work coming this year
HAMMONTON—On November 18, Governor Phil Murphy announced $161.25 million in Municipal Aid grants. At that time, Mayor Stephen DiDonato told The Gazette that, of those funds, Hammonton would be receiving $310,000 for work to commence on Valley Avenue, between Broadway and Central Avenue.
Town engineer David Cella, of Adams, Rehmann and Heggan Associates, described the work that is being planned as part of the town’s 2021 Roads Program.
“We’ve gone through some video reports on some of the piping out there. There’s a little bit of work we need to do with regards to the existing structures that are there. What we haven’t gotten to is, what do we need to add and help to augment in there? There will be a full new black surface on that road, as well, when we’re done,” Cella said.
Public Works Manager Robert Vettese said that School House Lane and Vine Street are also a part of the program.
“That’ll extend a little bit south of Central Avenue to take care of some drainage problems that we have there,” Vettese said.
Cella explained further.
“We’re replacing some of the utilities there, too. We’re doing sanitary work. We’re going to address some of the storm structures that are there and need to be replaced and upgraded to current standards. We’re replacing the water main, and, since we’re doing utilities, we’ll also be rebuilding the road,” Cella said.
Vettese said that, as part of the work on School House Lane, 13 trees are slated for removal.
“If you walk down that side of the street—in fact, I think they’re replacing a majority of the curb and sidewalk—you’ll see there’s a lot of pushed-up sidewalk and a lot of pushed-up curb. There might even be some old concrete gutters underneath the pavement that’s there that’s pushed up in spots, and there are some inlets that are bad that have been affected by the trees. Some of the utilities, when you video those, you can see roots. When you dig them up, you can see roots that are attached to—or in to—some of that pipework,” Vettese said.
Vettese said that the trees can “cause havoc on curb, sidewalk, roadway and utilities.”
“They want to take those down and take a look to see what can be done replanting that would give you a little bit of green. Even with what they remove, there’s still a lot of trees on the St. Joseph Academy property itself that gives you the shade for that street. Like anything else, when something is detrimental to something else or causing a concern, that’s when you’ve really got to look at it—particularly when you’re putting money aside to redo the utilities and the curb and sidewalk along that street,” Vettese said.
Cella said that both projects are “closing in on final design.”
“We’re looking to go out to bid soon. If we can wrap up in the next week and a half to two weeks, we’re able to go out to bid, and we should be able to open before the July council meeting. Then, we’d be able to have a recommendation for that meeting; if it’s awarded, we’d be able to work on contracts, and you’re probably looking at late August, early September for starting to see some actual work out there,” Cella said.
Vettese said that further projects are on hold until the completion of these two roads.
“The town is not doing anything, at this point, on their portion of the road program until we see how much money has to be expended or set aside for construction of Vine Street/School House Lane and Valley Avenue ... They set aside $1 million to try to do the road program, and they want to see how much has to be expended on those two streets, and then try to formulate a program. If they have $200,000 left—or $2 left—we’ll know what we might be able to do,” Vettese said.
Vettese said that the School House Lane/Vine Street and Valley Avenue projects are a priority.
“They definitely want to get those streets done, because there’s a lot of improvements, and a lot of foot traffic and car traffic there and they need it. They want to prioritize those and not take any money away from those streets if they need to be completed ... Until we see how much is left, it’s going to be hard to determine what we can do, but I know that they had talked about, if there is money left, they want to do something on one of the other streets,” Vettese said.
Cella noted that other projects should not be as extensive as these two.
“There is a series of roads where they’re looking to try to do some maintenance on; some will be mill-and-overlay and some will be seal-coated,” Cella said.
“There’s a wish list, but we have to prioritize from that list what we want to do during the budget year. We had been given an estimate on a whole mess of streets, but we can’t pull the trigger on any one of those until we see how much we have left to spend and what they want to spend it on. Then, they’ll prioritize it depending on what’s left,” Vettese said.