UGI, city discuss paving, communication

It costs the city between $30,000 and $70,000 to break down and resurface the average city block with asphalt.

So when a utility is performing a required cut to provide service such as natural gas to a customer, the city and the utility need to be on the same page so the city doesn’t pave the street and have to resurface it.

That was the main reason representatives from UGI Utilities Inc., a natural gas delivery company, and the city Public Works Committee held a discussion Wednesday.

However, the committee did not act on or recommend any further action at this time.

The city recently enacted an ordinance on street cuts that requires utilities to pay for any repairs following the closing of the excavation hole and patchwork done for up to five years.

Prior to that, the warranty was for two years, and the city found itself dealing with some shoddy utility work that cost the city, which uses liquid fuels and community block grant money to pay for these repairs, according to Councilman N. Clifford “Skip” Smith.

“A typical estimate to mill and resurface a standard street is about $30,000,” said John Grado, city engineer and director of community and economic development. “If a curb work is done, it can probably cost $70,000.”

Once that is done, a street that is paved can last for up to 15 years before any further additional maintenance is done, other than sealing up a crack, Grado said.

“Our contractors are an extension of UGI,” said Tom Scappaticci, UGI manager of operations.

Scappaticci and others representing the company said there is a need for the company to perform winter service connections, either for installing a new furnace or for emergency calls.

While emergencies aren’t considered a problem, according to Grado, permanent restoration can’t be made until the asphalt plants open in April.

Scappaticci said the company is using a high performance cold patch, an asphalt base material that isn’t heated but is placed in pot holes and depressions in the street.

The company promised to minimize the number of cuts in the streets, but the issue is the higher number of customers choosing to replace their fuel sources. The company representatives said UGI has 19 contracts that are underway. For any others who are considering changing over to another fuel, the company said it would give the city administration locations before entering into the contracts.

Scappaticci also said the company has a long-range plan to improve its delivery systems by replacing cast iron mains. He said the company’s purpose is to continue to provide safe, reliable delivery of natural gas.

Smith asked for and was promised the utility’s basic long-range plan. Smith then said such information could be shared with the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority as a better way of scheduling paving projects to prevent digging up streets after they’ve been paved.

William Molino, the city street inspector, said, for the most part, the contractors for UGI have been communicative and do prompt and appropriate work as they repair where they cut into the street.

“I think we’ve done a good job keeping the lines of communication open,” Smith said.