Residents with access to the Internet will soon have a new way to keep tabs on road repairs in the City of Niagara Falls.

Mayor Paul Dyster’s administration is working on a plan to update the city’s Web site to include color-coded maps that show streets where improvements have already occurred and roads where maintenance, re-paving and reconstruction work are scheduled to take place.

A copy of a map showing all in-house paving projects completed in 2008 is already available. A similar map detailing road work to be done in 2009 will soon be added as well. The maps highlight roads where full-depth reconstruction, resurfacing and resurfacing with support from casino funding have occurred. Dyster said it is hoped the site will be developed to the point where residents would have access to a more interactive mapping system where they could obtain “real-time” information about projects by clicking on an individual streets.

The overall project, a joint effort between the management information services and environmental planning departments, is in response to frequent resident complaints about the lack of public disclosure of plans for improving the city’s woeful streets.

“We here at City Hall know what the overall plan for paving and how we are utilizing the different types of resources that we have to try to achieve the greatest overall possible good in terms of the improvement of the streets system,” Dyster said. “I think it would be helpful for us to make more graphic information available to the average citizen so they could look and see on a map what it is we are planning to do.”

City Council members once again this week voiced concerns about road repair projects, saying they continue to be bombarded by telephone calls, often from the same residents complaining about the lack of activity on the same roads.

“Our public relations right now is a nightmare,” said City Council Chairman Chris Robins.

Though the city is still finalizing the list of streets that will be repaved this summer, Robins estimated between $5 million and $6 million will be dedicated for repairs through federal stimulus money, state CHIPS funding and $1 million from the city’s share of casino revenues.

“Several of the streets we know we’re going to do this year are the ones (councilmembers) get the most complaints about but we’re just not getting the information out,” Robins said. “If a person knew their street is going to be paved, they may give the city a break.”

He said the map also will hold the city accountable if it falls behind on promised road repairs.

“To have this information out there is important,” he said. “It’s a good first step.”

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