Champi: Deficiencies along Diamond Hill being resolved

Champi: Deficiencies along Diamond Hill being resolved

Several driveway aprons had yet to be repaved along Diamond Hill Road late Wednesday morning. Town officials say they’re working to get all issues corrected. (Breeze photo by Ethan Shorey)

CUMBERLAND – The initial repaving of Diamond Hill Road last week came up short of the expected standards, town officials confirmed, but they say contractor D’Ambra Construction is working to resolve issues.

A Valley Breeze review of the project late last week found missing asphalt “aprons” between the road and driveways, driveway ends that were never milled down to get their new apron, two joints between the main roadway and some side streets, and significant bumps elsewhere where the main road was higher than the side streets.

A drive on Tuesday morning of this week found many of the issues resolved, but more work still to be done, including some remaining gaps between driveways and the road.

Some residents were questioning why asphalt aprons at the end of the side streets were done days before the main repaving of Diamond Hill Road after Water Supt. Chris Champi said the town would be paying $117,000 more to have that work done in conjunction with the main paving. A side crew was supposed to make the connections as the pavers proceeded along the length of the 2.2-mile project, avoiding the need for two cold joints.

Champi explained that the “most ideal situation” would have been to have the work done as he described, but “scheduling wise it couldn’t happen” with the night crews available to D’Ambra.

He said in an email last Friday that he had been working on Diamond Hill “compiling pictures and cataloguing issues with some of the paving work which has been completed so far.” Public Works Director Bob Anderson met with him on the job and also concurred that there were some areas needing to be addressed, and he requested a field meeting with the town, D’Ambra, and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to discuss the affected areas, he said.

“The issues of large bumps where the main road pavement was left higher than the side street aprons will be discussed at the field meeting as well as what will be done to rectify the situations,” he said.

A representative from RIDOT did not respond to a request for comment.

Those bumps appeared to be addressed on Tuesday. Champi said the process would involve heating up the asphalt again, raking it down, and then using a large roller to compact it.

For residents, the nearly completed paving job running the 2.2 miles from J’s Deli near Route 295 and Nate Whipple Highway is a welcome relief after months of rattling down a road that was torn up to install new water lines and then patched. The new lines are part of a long-term effort to improve the town’s water infrastructure and provide cleaner water to residents.

RIDOT repaved this state road (Route 114), but informed the town that it would not foot the bill for connecting the main roadway with side streets and driveways, many of which were torn up to make water line connections.

This project is separate from the double roundabout project changing traffic configurations and keeping residents up at night near Route 295. That project won’t be done for some time.

On any construction job there are always issues, said Champi this week, and he doesn’t see anything that’s a “huge deal” along the length of the Diamond Hill Road repaving.

Though the side street aprons were completed in advance of the main road paving, the vertical joint where the side street meets the vertical joint on the main road was new asphalt with “exposed aggregate” (not smooth) with fresh oil (still sticky to the touch) present when the main road was paved, he said.

“The hot asphalt from the main road was pushed into the side street vertical joint when compacted, heating the oil on the side street vertical joint to form a more cohesive bond,” he said in his email explanation. “The rear vertical joint where the new pavement met the vertical joint of the old pavement was a true cold joint, in that the old pavement was saw cut, leaving a smooth vertical joint for the new vertical joint to abut to.” The second joint is less cohesive because there is no fresh oil or exposed aggregate (blend) for the new asphalt to bond to, he said.

The same concept, in reverse, holds true for the driveway aprons, he said. A list of driveway aprons was transmitted to the contractor and he requested a schedule on when they will be completed. Several driveway aprons appeared unfinished as of press time.

The ratepayers of the Cumberland Water Department had not yet paid anything for the Diamond Hill Road work as of last Friday, said Champi. The expense for the work was approved by the Town Council.

“The town and CWD will work with RIDOT and the contractor to arrive at a resolution to the problem areas which will be discussed at our field meeting so that payment can be made when the issues are resolved,” he said last Friday.


The quality of work has gone downhill over the years on paving and this is a perfect example. Manhole covers leaving are leaving huge bumps. Connecting roads now leave a seam that will deteriorate over time. Looks like it was just a skim coat instead of a true repaving that will only last a couple of years at most. I can’t wait for the first heavy rain to wash out the sides of the road. The entrance to Little Pond County will now become a drain as there is no longer a direction for the water to go. Not sure who is responsible for this the town and state, but we’ll be repaving sections of this in the next few years.

this is what RIDOT and it's 4 major contractors do. Built in job security.