YOUNGSTOWN Speedy paving pleases officials

Crews weren't constantly leaving the city and returning, and that helped keep things moving.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Maybe it was the hot, dry weather. Maybe it was having the resources and management of a big, experienced company.
Whatever the reasons, the city's near $1 million street paving project this year was done in one-third the usual time.
In 23 days, McCourt Construction Co. of Akron put down all the asphalt on the 58 streets scheduled for resurfacing.
Carmen Conglose Jr., city deputy director of public works, couldn't be happier -- especially considering such projects routinely stretched into late summer, fall and beyond much of the past decade.
"This is the quickest I've ever seen this done," he said. "We're very well pleased."
Two or three weeks of work remain, making sure water valves and manholes are level, sealing edges of streets and cleaning up.
Nonetheless, the biggest challenge is paving the surfaces, which typically takes about 60 days or more, Conglose said.
The city's annual paving contract gives companies 75 days to finish. This year, work started July 9 and was to be done by late September. Instead, street paving ended July 31.
Weather certainly helped. Rain usually washes away a fair number of paving days. Last month, however, only a couple days were lost.
The project was more concentrated, too. The city usually paves about 70 streets a year. This year's number was 58, although more miles of road were paved than in past years.
Fewer streets meant McCourt didn't have to move its equipment as often or stop and restart as much, saving time.
Conglose credited McCourt with scheduling the project to an early finish. The company's managers scheduled the project so crews weren't constantly leaving the city and returning, which had been typical.
"That's the key to these projects -- scheduling," he said.
McCourt took no shortcuts to get the work done fast, Conglose said. The city tested the materials and inspected the surfaces.
Studies show that paving done in July and August brings the highest quality, so Conglose expects this year's streets to hold up longer than most.
In past years, some city paving projects have carried into the rainy, cool fall months. The roads then crack earlier than they should.
There were fewer complaints from residents compared to past years, too, Conglose said.
McCourt worked safely, put warning signs in the right place and controlled traffic better than the city was used to.
"The phone isn't ringing. It's been like having a vacation from paving," Conglose said.
This is the first time McCourt has had the city contract. The city's board of control threw out the low bid in June, saying it wasn't the best one.
Romano Paving & amp; Excavating Inc. of Bessemer, Pa., was $135,000 lower. The city, however, had concerns about the company's handing the size, scope and complexity of the job.
Officials also considered Romano's performance in 1999. That year, there were so many delays that a dozen streets went unpaved and the city charged the contractor penalties.

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