Since 1912, the company has been operating from the same Newman Road location in Hudson and building- and rebuilding- pretty much all the roads in a 50-mile radius of Hudson. Indeed, the former Hudson Evening Star newspaper article lists a litany of roads built by the firm, including “all but one or two streets in the city of Hudson.” It also mentions how Antonio Colarusso was about to rebuild the Hudson-Hollowville road “in modern concrete” which he had first built in asphalt – one of the first such roads in the state – while superintendent from the Joseph Walker Construction Company in 1900. It was that job which had brought Antonio to the Hudson region, where the Italian immigrant decided to put down roots.
First Quarry, 1922
“When a young Antonio Colarusso arrived in the United States from Italy, he found work, like many other immigrants, building the nation’s infrastructure,” says current president and fourth-generation family member, Paul Colarusso. “When he started his own firm nearly two decades later, he had a very good grasp of what was needed for a successful road builder. The site he picked to for the operation’s headquarters is still in operation today. They opened the quarry on Newman Road in the 1930s, just down the road from the current office and quarry.”
Original office on Newman Rd. 1930s
First Processing Plant, 1930
In the early 20th century roads were built of concrete, so Colarusso maintained a concrete plant. According to the Evening Star. “Between 1917 and 1935 he [Antonio] has put down more miles of concrete pavement in Columbia county than any other contractor.” Paul adds, “They just opened the first quarry to support the construction work the company was doing.”
Constructing 3rd street, City of Hudson, 1933
Bob Colarusso, Sr. 1933
In the late 1950s the company was now in its third generation of leadership. Peter Colarusso Jr., Antonio’s grandson, oversaw building the first blacktop plant—in the same place where a modern plant now stands. At the same time, the company also opened a new quarry. “That’s when we moved up the hill to where we are now and put up the blacktop plant, a new crushing plant, as well as a new office,” Paul confirmed.
Once the blacktop plant opened the company concentrated, to a large extent, on paving. “We did more of that type of work rather than pipe work or excavation or things like that,” says Paul. “We still did all of those things, but the primary focus was on asphalt paving.”
The second major physical expansion came during the 1970s. A. Colarusso and Son purchased a gravel bank not far from its offices and quarry operations in 1974. “When we bought it, we put in a whole new screening and washing plant. One of the motivations for doing that was for our blacktop. That’s when the Marshall Mixes were starting to come into use, and we needed a natural sand to put in our blacktop.” Another motivation was the owner was looking to sell and Colarusso was not looking to have a competitor just down the road.
Re-decking a highway bridge, 1985
As the company grew, the strategy was slow, controlled, steady growth. “The volume of business grew as the area grew,” says Paul. “Plus, as each generation has taken over, there has always been a little step up. Each generation comes in with new ideas, a new focus and new ambitions.” However, the company never really expanded, in construction, into big interstate construction. That was by design, capturing the spirit of the company’s original founder, who built a reputation for finishing anything he tackled and maintained immense pride for his work and community.
Despite the changes over the years, 90 percent of the firm’s work has always been New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) thruway or municipal work. Colarusso has also completed a fair amount of commercial work, such as schools, shopping malls, and commercial building sites. Two projects—a boat launch and a pedestrian/bike trail—typify how the firm ventures into new avenues to expand its work, while not straying far from its core. The boat launch was built on the Hudson River for the State Parks Commission and more than 60 miles of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail have been completed in eastern Dutchess and Columbia counties.
A. Colarusso and Son currently employs upwards of 250 people, all still working in the same geographic area where Antonio Colarusso began more than 100 years before.