North side asphalt overlay plans breed resident complaints

By Jason Hawk -



Dismayed over the prospect of having asphalt laid overtop their crumbling concrete streets, northern Amherst residents stepped one after the other to the fore Monday to plead with city council.

August Tornabene of Quail Court presented a petition with 33 of his neighbors’ names asking for concrete or nothing.

Runoff has destroyed Quail and Killdeer courts off Meadowbrook Drive, he argued: “We need to tie into the storm sewers all the down spouts and all the sump pumps.”

Garbage trucks are getting bigger and bigger, rolling down the residential streets at 30 tons empty and adding another eight tons when full of trash, he said — the weight grinds concrete and would be disastrous on blacktop.

Tornabene asked for a concrete overlay, which he says would last 15 to 40 years without a tear-out.

Brian McCue, who lives on Meadowbrook, said his property is “ground zero” for water damage. The road near his home is buckled and covered with gravel from erosion.

He also opposed a plan to lay an asphalt overlay this summer as part of a $1.25 million Amherst resurfacing campaign.

“There’s so much work that has to be done on that street before you can put any overlay on it, let alone asphalt,” McCue said.

John Falbo, a contractor by trade, lives on Eastpointe Court on the opposite side of Amherst but worried that use of asphalt elsewhere could set a citywide precedent.

“I’m afraid because I live in a development that’s only eight years old that this could be a slippery slope,” he said.

Falbo said asphalt is a good “political tool” that gets more done with less money — but is nonetheless short-sighted.

Mayor Mark Costilow responded by saying some of the proposed project funding is for fixing drainage issues such as spout tie-ins and storm basins.

Aaron Appell of Bramhall Engineering, which works on behalf of the city, said it’s “pretty conventional” to overlay concrete roads with asphalt throughout Ohio.

Since 2004, he estimated 20 Amherst roads have been overlaid in that manner.

The average lifespan of a concrete road overlaid with asphalt is 10 to 15 years, Appell said, eliciting loud murmurs of “No way” from a frustrated audience.

There are only so many dollars to go around for the project and the road is in dire need of repair, Costilow insisted under pressure from the residents.

He suggested Bramhall take an alternate bid for whitetopping.

“There are no more dollars. I have three more years of paving we have to do before we get to Cooper Foster Park Road,” the mayor said, referencing future plans to pave the rapidly-deteriorating eastern portion of the dividing route between Amherst and Lorain.

Pouring extra money into projects this year isn’t wise because the city must stash money away for the large Cooper Foster project, he said.

Council voted 7-0 to pass the mayor’s high-dollar summer paving bid-and-award request on its second reading.

Also adopted unanimously was a $645,000 plan to repave a stretch of Cooper Foster west of the North Lake Street intersection.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.


By Jason Hawk