National Grid, town working on repaving resolution

National Grid, town working on repaving resolution

Utility feels it has its back against the wall, says mayor

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A National Grid representative says the issue of repaving local roadways following underground utility work is a complex one, and a matter the utility giant is now in discussions with the town on resolving.

The Breeze reported last week that Mayor Charles Lombardi was looking into whether National Grid should be repaving from curb to curb on certain streets instead of repaving just the side where the digging occurs. An example cited in that story was Taft Street, off Mineral Spring Avenue.

Spokesman Ted Kresse said from what he understands, a new water trench was recently dug on Taft and a water utility is responsible for that portion of the road that remains with the old asphalt.

Asked about other local roadways with similar half-paving jobs done recently, Kresse said the utility is working with Lombardi on best steps forward.

“With several utilities involved, there needs to be coordination so ratepayer and taxpayer dollars are used both efficiently and effectively,” he said.

According to last week’s story, a new state law requires companies to repave from curb to curb if they dig into a road. Previously, an agreement with the town of North Providence called for National Grid to have a road fully repaved after utility work only if the asphalt needed replacement, and each entity would cover half of the cost. If the road didn’t need to be repaved, the utility was required to repave the half its workers dug into after the work was done.

Lombardi said this week that officials are still in talks with National Grid about how to handle repaving going forward. The town needs to “make sure they continue to do the work they’re supposed to,” he said, particularly when residents require utility service. The mayor said part of the contention brought up by National Grid was that the company feels it has its “back against the wall” with the new law, and that always paving 100 percent of the road might as well push it into the repaving business.

Lombardi cautioned that added paving costs across the state will be pushed onto the back of ratepayers because National Grid isn’t going to pay for all of that work on its own. He said he doesn’t want to be guilty of “aiming before we shoot.”

“I don’t want to get cocky,” he said, but if the town can reasonably get more for its paving buck by having National Grid cover more of the work, then that’s the route it should go.