Officials mark reopening of Miami Avenue

State and local officials gathered Friday morning for a press conference and to celebrate the reopening of Miami Avenue after the road was closed for nearly seven months.

On March 18, the Montgomery County Department of Public Works ordered the section of Miami Avenue between Tessiero Square and Amsterdam High School closed until further notice due to a partial collapse of the roadway and the subsequent degeneration of a length of culvert. In July, county legislators awarded a contract for repair materials to Varitech LLC of Liverpool, NY for $115,572 and a contract for construction to Delaware-based Casale Construction Corp. for $349,500.

Amsterdam Town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza, one of several speaking at the ceremony, said the project was first estimated to cost $769,000, but ended up with a price tag of $550,000. Most of the money came from New York state’s New York Rising program.

Amanda Hansen, program director for New York Rising, said Friday’s reopening of Miami Avenue was the result of a lot of cooperation.

“To get here today, a lot of people had to do a lot of work really quickly, and I just want to recognize all of the hard work and pushing that everyone did to get this done,” Hansen said. “Everyone in the county, in the town, everyone who’s here today played a really important role in getting us to where we are, and so I want to thank you for that.”

She called the replacement culvert “no small undertaking” pointing out that the pipe is 170 feet long and 10 feet in diameter.

“It’s designed to carry a 100-year storm level in Bunn Creek under Miami Avenue,” she said. “We hope that we don’t have to put that to the test any time soon, but we are very pleased to know that we’re going to be ready if that time comes.”

Hansen acknowledged Mark Kilmer and Ladan Alomar, co-chairs of the New York Rising community reconstruction planning committee, which she
said was “the group that actually pulled this project together so we could fund it.”

Nearly every speaker talked about the constant questions from area residents and others asking when the road would be reopened.

“Well, it’s finally done, it’s finished,” State Senator George Amedore said. “So great job to the contractors as well as all the partners who made this happen. Much success, and may we continue to invest in Montgomery County.”

Amedore called the cooperation between the county the town and the state “a great collaborative effort.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said the reopening of the road was “the question on everybody’s mind.” He said the project was about “building strength and resiliency in our community and investing in infrastructure.”

Santabarbara’s background is in civil engineering, and he said he knows how potent 100-year storms can be.

“The fact that we now have the capacity to move that water off the road and get it to where it needs to be so it doesn’t affect our community is very important,” he said. “It’s a big investment here.
It’s a reason to celebrate. I know the residents are going to be very happy.”

Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said he has “never looked forward to a press conference more in my life.”

“I just want to thank the governor’s office,” he said. “The funding is a critical component here. By going through this process with the New York Rising program, it’s also allowing us to do more work in other parts of the county. When you have very limited funds locally, to get this kind of help from the state and federal government, that really helps us stretch that dollar. The residents of this community, their patience earned us about $769.000. Fortunately, the governor has had the vision with this New York Rising program, to invest in upstate infrastructure and infrastructure across the state, so we certainly appreciate that.”

“We’ve got to thank [Montgomery County Public Works Commissioner] Paul Clayburn,” Ossenfort said later. “Paul has dedicated almost 30 years of his life to Montgomery County and the DPW. He really was the lead on the county team, and I couldn’t let another second go by knowing that I forgot to thank him.”

DiMezza said the “most frequently-asked question in Montgomery County” has now been answered.

“The road is open, and I won’t have to hear that any longer,” he said.

DiMezza acknowledged the presence of Amsterdam Town Board members Ken Krutz and Dave Thibodeau. He also thanked Town Clerk Linda Hughes, who
he said was “right on top of the paperwork that would come to the town and have to go to the county and back to the state.”

He also praised Emergency Management Director Jeffery T. Smith.

“He’s done a fantastic job,” DiMezza said.

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.