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Author Topic: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road  (Read 947 times)

webny99

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How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« on: April 11, 2019, 08:01:55 AM »

Have you ever requested of your DOT that they pave a road in your area? (Any road, but I am mainly thinking about state highways.)
If so, what was the process, and were you successful in getting the road paved?

And for NY specifically (this sub-topic can be moved to Northeast if needed), what is the best way to ensure with certainty that a state highway gets on the paving schedule for 2019? It is not currently on the list of projects for Region 4, yet per the pavement quality report found online, it has not been paved since 1998, which, by the way, is the year before I was born. In short, I have seen it deteriorate my entire life, to the point where now, 20 years later, driving it is bumpy as heck and no longer even remotely pleasant. So maybe those of you who have been around longer than me or work for the state in some form or fashion could advise what first steps I would need to take to ensure this gets paved this year.



Relatedly, on the road in question, there is a T-intersection where traffic regularly uses the shoulder to go around traffic turning left into their neighborhood. In the past couple of years, the shoulder has become filled with potholes, being used by thousands of cars per day and clearly not built to sustain such. A couple of these potholes are better described as craters - big enough that many drivers would rather wait it out behind left turning traffic than risk their tires. Which is fine when the road is dry, but after it rains, the potholes fill up, so nobody can see how big they are. Twice recently, I have seen a car attempt to go past on the shoulder, as per usual, and then lurch to a stop as they get their front tire stuck in a pothole. So there they sit, spinning and spinning. Traffic behind them starts to get aggravated, and after a while someone attempts to form a third path to the right of the left turning car and the stuck car -- right through someone's front lawn.  :-D

I happened to be in a position to watch the whole thing, and fortunately, the stuck car got enough gas to get un-stuck before the third "lane" materialized. I did get a good chuckle out of it at the time, yet I find it disturbing that these third world conditions exist right on a state highway in a developed state in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and I want to do something about it.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2019, 08:12:17 AM »

I guess you meant *repave* a road! ;-)

For the most part, the planning process starts years in advance.  In other words, roads that will be paved this year were scheduled 2, 3 or more years ago.  In some cases unusually quick deteriorating pavement creates an emergency situation where a road is scheduled for same year repaving...but usually at the expense of another project because all available funds have been allocated.

Calling/bugging your elected officials sometimes helps, although these people get requests daily from all around the state, so they're not going to be as responsive as most people would like.

As far as potholes go, these can be filled in temporarily, and a call to the area's DOT regional office often can suffice.   There may be some blowback if they say traffic shouldn't be driving on the shoulder to begin with, but ultimately any paved surface shouldn't have any potholes in it either.  And regardless of what the state law says, often times shoulders are widened near intersections to indirectly allow thru traffic to pass.
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1995hoo

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 08:48:28 AM »

In terms of filling potholes, VDOT has a website where you can report road problems. I use it and it’s been effective for that purpose. Back in 2003 I used it to report a stretch where massive potholes—big enough that people wouldn’t drive in the lane in question—necessitated a full repaving, and in that case they did repave. But that was an extreme example on an important arterial route. More recently when some streets needed repaving because VDOT had patched the potholes so many times that it was still a washboard after repair, we had to get the local politicians to help get VDOT to amend their list of priorities.


(Edited to fix typos. My autocorrect kept changing "repave" to "replace" and I failed to notice one of them.)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2019, 10:05:06 AM by 1995hoo »
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Rothman

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2019, 09:37:59 AM »

Take a YouTube video of a bobblehead bouncing around on your dashboard.  Worked for a road in Saratoga County a couple of years ago (NY 29?  Can't remember).

ETA:  Oh, you're talking about the shoulder.  Yeah, that won't hit a priority list anywhere.
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webny99

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 10:57:10 AM »

ETA:  Oh, you're talking about the shoulder.  Yeah, that won't hit a priority list anywhere.

That specific incident involved a pothole on the shoulder, but the entire road is in rough condition.

a stretch where massive potholes—big enough that people wouldn’t drive in the lane in question—necessitated a full repaving. But that was an extreme example on an important arterial route ... ...

... ... needed repaving because VDOT had patched the potholes so many times that it was still a washboard after repair

Yeah, the road I'm talking about would be somewhat of a blend of these two issues. Fairly busy, regionally significant, bumpy and has been patched way too many times, but not totally undriveable (yet). There is one segment that comes to mind where I will make a point to get out of the right lane for about a 1/4 mile to avoid a big string of potholes.
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webny99

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2019, 11:06:43 AM »

In some cases unusually quick deteriorating pavement creates an emergency situation where a road is scheduled for same year repaving...but usually at the expense of another project because all available funds have been allocated.

This reminds me of an issue right about here last fall where an entire section of roadway caved in. They had to do an emergency lane closure, dig down and reconstruct a whole chunk of the road. I'm kind of surprised the issue isn't more obvious in Street View - the google car went by in August and I think it caved in October or November.

There may be some blowback if they say traffic shouldn't be driving on the shoulder to begin with,

It's a neighborhood entrance / exit from a very well-traveled two lane road that really should be four lanes.

In the absence of widening the through road, there should be a designated left turn lane. I honestly believe the count of cars that use the shoulder would be in the thousands per day, and I can't imagine what traffic would be like if they didn't!
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Brandon

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 12:12:58 PM »

Donate a shitload of money to a powerful state rep's campaign fund.

Oh, wait, you mean other states than Illinois?
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Scott5114

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2019, 12:38:47 PM »

Are you sure it's NYSDOT maintained? In most states a neighborhood entrance (i.e. a minor collector) would not be a state highway. Does it have reference markers?

If it's not NYSDOT maintained, you're actually in a better position, because it's probably maintained by the City of Rochester, meaning you can annoy the relevant elected official more easily. Call up your city councilman's office, bug them, and if you get no joy, start going to city council meetings and bring it up there. (The nice thing about going to city council meetings is you learn more about how your city works.) If none of this works, run against the city councilman in the next election, win, and fix it yourself. This fixes the road and gives you a career in politics, and maybe you'll be President someday.

If the road is state-maintained, you'll have to do this with your state rep and state senator instead.

Another avenue is to contact the local TV stations and see if they'd be willing to do an expose on how bad the road has gotten. Probably not a huge chance of this working unless the potholes are visibly, shockingly serious. But it's worth a shot.
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Mr. Matté

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 12:53:35 PM »

Funny you bring this up. A couple of weeks ago on a Monday morning at work, I was on the Mercer County, NJ online pothole submission page reporting what I saw from my weekend's bike rides. My coworker who lives in Burlington County asked me to send a report about a road near her house. They only have a phone number to call so I did so (left a message). I check their website on Wednesday and sure enough, the road I called in became scheduled to be repaved!

Then last week on the day I was taking my PE test in Ewing, I was walking over to a nearby place for lunch and I walked by a Mercer County DOT truck waiting at a light. I kinda jokingly yelled at them to "Repave Old York Road!" (CR 539 near my house). As I was driving home I happened to be on that road and I saw the orange sign that come April 22, it shall be done! Government finally responds to me for a change!
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vdeane

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 01:21:36 PM »

And to think I thought this thread was a parody of "How to give a cat a pill".

Another avenue is to contact the local TV stations and see if they'd be willing to do an expose on how bad the road has gotten. Probably not a huge chance of this working unless the potholes are visibly, shockingly serious. But it's worth a shot.
That worked around here.  News10 did a piece on potholes in Latham on Monday, calling out Wade Road Extension specifically.  The very next day, there were a bunch of very visibly new pothole patches on Wade Road Extension when I passed it.

Pity they didn't patch Forts Ferry while they were there.  It's bad too (to the point where there are a couple of spots I have to drive in the oncoming lane), but it didn't get specifically called out by the news, so I guess I have to continue to risk my wheels every drive home.
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webny99

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 01:44:09 PM »

Are you sure it's NYSDOT maintained? In most states a neighborhood entrance (i.e. a minor collector) would not be a state highway. Does it have reference markers?

Sorry for not being more clear. The neighborhood street meets the state highway in question at a T intersection -- and no, it isn't my neighborhood, but one I drive by quite often on the state highway.

If none of this works, run against the city councilman in the next election, win, and fix it yourself. This fixes the road and gives you a career in politics, and maybe you'll be President someday.

Actually, it's not the city of Rochester, it's the town of Penfield. But LOL anyways at me being in politics, much less President.  :-D
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webny99

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2019, 01:52:11 PM »

And to think I thought this thread was a parody of "How to give a cat a pill".

Nope, I must've missed that one.  :D
I don't even see it on the first page of Off-Topic threads.
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Brandon

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2019, 01:52:34 PM »

If none of this works, run against the city councilman in the next election, win, and fix it yourself. This fixes the road and gives you a career in politics, and maybe you'll be President someday.

And sell your soul to the highest bidder.  :ded:
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kphoger

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2019, 03:21:47 PM »

And for NY specifically, what is the best way to ensure with certainty that a state highway gets on the paving schedule for 2019?

I'm pretty sure all state highways in New York are already paved.
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webny99

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2019, 05:14:46 PM »

I guess you meant *repave* a road! ;-)

And for NY specifically, what is the best way to ensure with certainty that a state highway gets on the paving schedule for 2019?
I'm pretty sure all state highways in New York are already paved.

Yes, I suppose "repave" would be the correct term.  :pan:
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Takumi

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2019, 05:38:36 PM »

Draw a really, really big sex organ on it.
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kphoger

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2019, 07:18:21 PM »

Draw a really, really big sex organ on it.

...with a flame thrower.  (you, not the sex organ)
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vdeane

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2019, 08:06:46 PM »

And to think I thought this thread was a parody of "How to give a cat a pill".

Nope, I must've missed that one.  :D
I don't even see it on the first page of Off-Topic threads.
Not a forum thread.  Old bit of internet humor.
https://www.reshareworthy.com/giving-cat-pill-vs-dog-pill/

I guess you meant *repave* a road! ;-)

And for NY specifically, what is the best way to ensure with certainty that a state highway gets on the paving schedule for 2019?
I'm pretty sure all state highways in New York are already paved.

Yes, I suppose "repave" would be the correct term.  :pan:
For what it's worth, NYSDOT always says "pave".
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hbelkins

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2019, 12:31:46 PM »

How far does the state ROW extend at this intersection? This may very well be a jurisdictional issue for the local government, not the state.

For what it's worth, NYSDOT always says "pave".

Down here, it's typically called "asphalt resurfacing."
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vdeane

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2019, 01:04:29 PM »

I was speaking to what we use in the office.  Most projects are "bridge jobs" or "paving jobs", and most paving jobs are some form of resurfacing, especially since we're in preservation mode.
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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2019, 06:50:14 PM »

Don't have to pave the road if no one uses it.  :bigass:
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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2019, 03:07:13 PM »

It is not currently on the list of projects for Region 4, yet per the pavement quality report found online, it has not been paved since 1998, which, by the way, is the year before I was born.

If you think that's bad, NY 5 on the east side of Canastota hasn't been repaved since 1995!  Look at the bottom of page 18 in this PDF.  The worst section is eastbound between the two reference markers below "END 5/13 OLAP CANASTOTA" in the table, and has 10.32 in the Primary EMP column.  The pavement is wavy, and your car rocks side to side as you're driving over it.  It's a bit better if you ride along the white line.  The first time I drove over it, I thought of this GIF.  For some reason, the westbound lane is better.
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webny99

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Re: How to Get Your State DOT to Pave a Road
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2019, 10:25:10 AM »

Don't have to pave the road if no one uses it.

In this case, the problem is too many people using it. Between traffic volumes and winter weather, enough is enough after a while.

I am trying to decide how much longer I am prepared to wait for the paving project to appear organically on the Region 4 STIP. If 2020 comes and goes without anything showing up on the radar, I may have to take action.
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