Woonsocket streets see major repair

Woonsocket streets see major repair

Three roadway projects to be completed this month

WOONSOCKET - Long needed repairs have finally begun on some of the city's most decayed roadways, with three projects totaling nearly $1 million in construction to be completed within the next 30 days.

Construction began in early July on the largest of the plans: a resurfacing/repaving project funded by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation covering around a mile of roadway on Cumberland and Maple streets, and Hamlet Avenue. Cardi Corporation is performing the work at a cost of approximately $483,000.

The work is generally "safety improvements and maintenance" explained Jim McCarron, supervisor for Cardi.

Funding for the project was awarded to the city, along with other municipalities across the state, back in 2010 as part of R.I. Local Equity Aid Program, the state's vehicle for distribution of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money.

"We're one of the few municipalities that didn't move on it right away," said Michael Debroisse, superintendent of solid waste and engineering.

Woonsocket was slated to receive around $800,000, but according to the program, the communities were required to complete the repairs on their own and would then be reimbursed for construction. In a municipality tight on cash, fronting the repairs with the potential for an extensive wait time on repayment just wasn't possible.

Recently however, Debroisse received reassurance from DOT that the money would come back quickly as a way to encourage the city to move forward with the needed work on the highly trafficked roads.

While construction has been limited to water department repairs and resurfacing on Hamlet Avenue and Cumberland Street, an area of Maple Street, from Paradis Avenue to St. Francis Street, received a complete makeover.

"That street was a complete road failure and we had to rebuild it from the ground up," said Debroisse. "We've received numerous complaints from residents (in the past)."

A second project using $296,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding, meanwhile, has begun in the Fairmount District with repairs on Sunnyside Avenue, Asylum Street and Roberta Avenue. Around a half mile of roadway has been under construction as part of the bid awarded to Narragansett Improvement.

On these deteriorated streets, contractors are not only doing concrete work, they're installing curbing, adding handicap ramps, and even changing manhole covers that have been in place since the 1940s.

Some of the most needed construction on Roberta Avenue was added on to the project thanks to a lower-than expected engineering estimate.

"Part of the roadway was deteriorating really badly due to street flooding," said Debroisse. There, contractors are installing a drainage system.

The major road overhaul inspired repair to another roadway hazard: sunken manholes used by the telephone company.

"We were getting a lot of complaints, but they weren't our responsibility," explained Public Works Director Sheila McGauvran.

"Manhole covers aren't something you normally just change," added Debroisse. "They last a very long time."

Verizon is reportedly replacing 22 of the old covers at varying locations throughout the city.

The Cardi Corporation has also been contracted to perform roadway restoration on Hazel and Fall streets, where construction was needed as a follow-up to prior sewer repairs. As part of that $99,000 project, Cardi will also pave the driveway entrance to the city's wastewater treatment plant.

According to Debroisse, work on the three projects has gone somewhat "slower than anticipated," but all of the construction is expected to be completed within the next 30 days, with the sole exception of the driveway to the plant, which requires a permit from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

The extensive roadwork is a bit beyond the scope of normal summer maintenance, according to Debroisse.

"A lot of this stuff has been looked at over the past few years," he said.