Annual Street Resurfacing & Sidewalk Reconstruction Projects

The City of Albany Department of General Services, Division of Engineering (DGS) typically contracts out two annual Street Resurfacing & Sidewalk Reconstruction contracts each year; consisting of about 30 to 35 street segments total.  These projects are typically funded through a combination of City bonded funds, New York State reimbursable funds, and Federal Community Development Block Grants.  The streets are selected through a data-driven approach where City engineers review the condition of each City-owned street and evaluate the overall street conditions of each City Ward.  

The City distributes improvements in a fair manner across each City Ward in accordance with the Equity Agenda, and the final street list and scope-of-work are approved by Common Council. The program takes a Complete Streets approach to design and construction, which strives for a practical balance of improvements to vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic.  This approach also considers improvements to green infrastructure, road drainage, forestry, and neighborhood aesthetics.

In addition to the streets included in either of the Street Resurfacing & Sidewalk Reconstruction contracts DGS will also mill, pave and micro surface another 10-20 streets where a complete street approach is not needed. In these cases several of the steps in the process are not present and the project will skip steps.

Based on the scope-of-work of a given street location, construction will usually span a period of 3 to 6 weeks between Mobilization and Substantial Completion. We have created the following 5-phase tracking system to keep residents updated on the progress of construction at each street location.

  1. Phase 1: Mobilization
    1. Mobilization is the process of the General Contractor (GC) delivering and setting up construction equipment and traffic/pedestrian protection devices (i.e. orange barrels and cones) at a given street work location to begin construction operations at that street.  During this phase, door hangers will be delivered to residents by the Contractor to notify them of upcoming construction operations on their street.
    2. Emergency No Parking signs will be posted on barrels, trees, and/or utility poles to notify residents of temporary parking restrictions during construction.  These Emergency No Parking (ENP) signs will typically be posted on a weekly basis to reflect changes in parking restrictions throughout the duration of the construction operations on your street – so please read signs carefully on a weekly basis. The Albany Police Department will be authorized to tow vehicles to make room for construction operations if ENP is not followed.
    3. Tree removal is a key element of the “Complete Streets” approach of the annual Street Resurfacing & Sidewalk Reconstruction contracts.  All trees slated for removal have been selected by the DGS Arborist due to tree decay, insect infestation/disease, or safety concerns.  A specialty sub-contractor typically performs removal of trees and grinding of stumps.  This process is typically carried out during the Mobilization phase but may happen at any time during the project.


  1. Phase 2: Milling & Paving (1st Course)
    1. Milling is the process of grinding and removing the top layer(s) of existing asphalt in preparation of resurfacing (i.e. paving) the road.  There are generally three advantages of milling a roadway (versus performing an overlay).
      1. First, it allows for the elevation of the street to either stay the same or be reshaped as desired.  This allows for improvement of stormwater flow and better connection of driveway aprons to the street.
      2. Second, it improves the quality and service life of the resurfaced road.  The upper layers of pavement (which are generally deteriorated from vehicle traffic, freeze/thaw cycles, and sun exposure) are removed.  The resulting “milled surface” is textured, which improves how well the new asphalt binds with it, resulting in a stronger road.
      3. Third, the millings are collected, recycled, and re-used to pave the road.  Asphalt is one of the most recycled materials in the United States.
    2. The first course of paving is also called the True and Leveling Course – as it provides the preliminary establishment of desired road grades to promote storm water drainage and a smooth, drivable surface. It also provides a nice base for the contractors to work on as they replace curb and sidewalk.  Typically, the True and Leveling Course is the first of two courses of asphalt – with Top Course being the final course to be installed later in the project.


  1. Phase 3: Curb, Sidewalks, and Ramps
    1. As part of this project, many locations will include improvements to elements within the City Right-of-Way between the edge of pavement and the private property boundary. These improvements include replacement of existing granite curb, concrete sidewalks, and ADA Curb-Ramps.  Additionally, improvements may also be made in the maintenance strip (the “buffer” area between the curb and sidewalk) such as topsoil placement, seeding, or installation of concrete. Please refer to the Scope-of-Work table included in your construction notification letter for more information on the work planned for your street.
    2. We typically have our contractor complete one side of the street at a time to maintain pedestrian access and limit parking restrictions during this phase of the project.  This phase can often be the longest phase of the project, typically lasting 2 to 4 weeks per street, dependent on the scope-of-work, weather conditions, and other factors.
    3. Interesting Extras:
      1. There is a shared responsibility for maintenance of streetscape infrastructure within the City Right-of-Way (aka City Property). The City of Albany maintains construction and replacement of sidewalks and curb within the City limits while the Resident or Private Property Owner is responsible for general maintenance such as shoveling sidewalks or watering/mowing grass.  In many other cities, the Private Property Owner is fully responsible for maintenance of the streetscape in front of their property (including replacement of damaged sidewalks and curbs) – so this is a benefit of living in the City of Albany.  Refer to the City code for more information.
        1. Limit salt use on concrete steps, sidewalks, and driveway aprons.  Most salts used for ice-melt can rapidly deteriorate concrete (as well as be harmful to pets and the environment).  Regular shoveling can often be enough to limit ice accumulation under typical snow events (with exceptions – use your best judgment).
        2. New topsoil and seed will likely be placed on grass areas in front of your home.  Watering the grass seed a couple of times per week can help properly establish it.  Seed growth may vary based on weather conditions and shade coverage.
        3. The City uses granite curb instead of concrete curb whenever possible.  Granite curb is typically stronger and more durable than concrete curb.         
    4. If we replace concrete sidewalks or driveway aprons in front of your driveway then there may be a 2-day period where your driveway will be inaccessible as the concrete cures.  The Contractor will try to notify you directly before this happens.


  1. Phase 4: Top Course Paving
    1. Preparation for final paving includes adjusting manholes and catch basins to correct elevation and preparing driveway aprons for tie-in to the final top course of paving.
    2. Topsoil is generally placed during this phase as needed.  Grass seed is typically placed by a specialty sub-contractor after the street is “Topped” (aka paved with Top Course).
    3. Top Course Paving is the process of paving the road with a finer-grained asphalt that is made to be ideal for vehicles to drive over (coarse enough to be gripped by wheels but fine enough to provide a smooth ride).  Top Course Paving usually takes less than one day (weather dependent) and the road is drivable within an hour after placement and compaction.
    4. If applicable, temporary striping will be placed on the roadway until the street cools enough to allow for final epoxy striping to be installed.


  1. Phase 5: Demobilization and Final Touches
    1. After the street is “Topped”, the contractor will generally demobilize from the site; which includes removing construction equipment, barrels, and ENP signs.  In some instances, a few of these items may stay on-site to be utilized for punch list items as needed.
    2. At this phase, the street location is considered Substantially Completed as the major construction operations have been completed and only the following ancillary items remain.
    3. In this phase, if applicable, the street will be hydro-seeded (for grass areas), epoxy striped (for traffic markings), and traffic signage will be installed.  We strive for a balance of pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic access and improvements under the Complete Streets approach of this project.
    4. Due to our climate, most species of deciduous trees need to either be planted in the Spring or Fall.  Therefore, trees will be planted by a specialty sub-contractor in this phase, if applicable to your street.  You should receive a notification letter if a new tree is selected to be planted on your street.
    5. The City will inspect each street and listen to resident concerns via e-mail, see-click-fix, phone calls, and on-site communication to construct a Punch list for each street location. A Punch list is a list of miscellaneous construction items to be addressed by the Contractor prior to the Contractor receiving final payment.


Miscellaneous Items

Due to the Complete Streets approach of our project, there are other miscellaneous construction items that may be included within various phases of the project, such as:

  • Installation of new catch basins to address road drainage issues;
  • Replacement of traffic inductance loops which indicate to traffic signals that there are vehicles queued at a red light;
  • Replacement of guiderail (aka guard-rails) for vehicular safety near steep embankments;
  • Use of colored and stamped concrete to match existing neighborhood aesthetics;
  • Repair, replacement, and cleaning of water valves to maintain access to clean, potable water infrastructure;
  • Installation of traffic calming measures (such as narrowing wide turns in residential neighborhoods) or creating dedicated or shared bicycle lanes where practical; and,
  • Coordination with other infrastructure groups, such as National Grid, Verizon, Spectrum, and the Albany Water Department to schedule improvements to their infrastructure prior to finalizing construction on our streets, which improves the utilities on your street while also limiting future disturbances to the newly refurbished roadways and streetscapes.