As in most areas of New York City, Lower Manhattan's streets have undergone their fair share of spot repair work -- evidenced by the potholes that sometimes make a street resemble a patchwork quilt.
Potholes are born from holes cut into the original asphalt of a street, usually to repair or inspect underground utilities. The holes are filled in, and a seam is formed. While the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT)’s workers do their best to make those seams as airtight as possible, heavy traffic and inclement weather can loosen and crack them. That’s when water seeps in. Once that water freezes and thaws, the concrete base under the asphalt begins to flake and chip, and a pothole sinks in.
DOT and the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) are now executing an “engineered resurfacing” program to smooth out several dozen pothole-ridden streets south of Canal. (Click here for a map of streets.)
For this type of resurfacing work, the top layer of asphalt is ripped up so engineers can inspect the concrete base below. Contractors make repairs as needed, though if more than 30 percent of the concrete needs work, the street requires a “capital reconstruction,” i.e. a complete rebuilding from the inside out. If the concrete is in relatively good shape, contractors make repairs and usually have the street -- complete with a new top layer of asphalt -- back to normal within a few weeks.
The $2.4 million engineered-resurfacing program began in summer 2004, one neighborhood at a time, starting in Battery Park City. A similar effort specific to the Wall Street Water Main Project also began in summer 2004 in and around the Financial District.
DOT is expediting both programs with as few traffic and parking disruptions as possible, while also minimizing noise, dust, and other inconveniences. Once the work is done, downtown’s resurfaced streets will offer smooth sailing for many seasons to come.
to see the latest information on the construction activities
for this project.