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Politics & Government

What Can You Do With $1.8 Million? Repave 11 Miles of Pittsburgh Streets

With $1.8 million, you could buy half a million Big Macs, 3,500 iPad Airs or four Lamborghinis.

Or you could use it to repave an additional 11 miles of city streets in Pittsburgh.

Mayor Bill Peduto’s Chief Operations Officer, Guy Costa, said the city scrutinized the 2014 capital budget to find an additional $1,781,298.58 that can be used for street resurfacing.

The city has proposed to move funds from 15 separate line items for projects that Costa said are either completed or delayed and unlikely to occur in 2014. Legislation to amend the budget was presented in City Council Tuesday and could be approved in the next two weeks. If approved, the changes would bring the city’s overall street resurfacing plan to 40 miles of roadways at the cost of $9.2 million.

“All nine council members benefit from this program,” Costa said. “There are neighborhoods that have been neglected for years that are going to see a lot of paving this year, and we feel it’s in the best interest for the council members to approve us, because it’s a benefit for their districts and their constituents.”

Costa said priority roadways include Fifth Avenue, Shady Avenue, Brookline Boulevard, Federal Street and North Avenue. Additionally, the repaving of Negley Run Boulevard was recently completed. The city also prioritized streets in Homewood that are integral to the route of the Pittsburgh Marathon, to be held on Sunday. Costa said Fifth Avenue is the next street he expects to be completed.

“We’re hoping to be in there as early as tomorrow, but definitely on Thursday to pave Fifth Avenue,” Costa said. “Our goal is to have Fifth Avenue completely restored by Friday.”

Costa said, this season, the city is trying to reduce or eliminate lag time between milling — grinding off the top layer of existing asphalt — and paving.

“Sometimes what happens is the milling contractor gets too far ahead of the paving contractor, so … we’ve added more paving crews to keep up with it,” Costa said. “Beginning Thursday, you’re going to see four paving crews out there and maybe one or two milling crews.”

While Costa said “40 miles is a large number … to be paved,” it represents a small portion of the more than 500 miles of roadway in Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable said need resurfacing.

Gable said the city uses a computer program to rate the condition of streets, and that 550 of the city’s 1042 miles of roadway have been given a rating of zero, the worst possible rating.

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