Short list of paving projects this fall

Short list of paving projects this fall

Allen: We’re not investing nearly enough in Smithfield roads

SMITHFIELD – Seven streets in Greenville will be milled and paved this fall beginning the week of Sept. 20, according to Department of Public Works Director Gene Allen.

Allen said Mayfield Street, Hillcrest Avenue, Bewlay Street, Thornton Street, Orchard Street, Winsor Street, Hattie Avenue and Calista Street will all be milled and paved this fall to prevent them from degrading any further.

“If I don’t do something really quickly there, it’s going to need really expensive repairs,” he said.

Allen said the “triangle area” behind Winsor School between Route 44 and Greenville Avenue was identified by pavement management software as the area most in need of paving.

Allen said he expects work on the roads to last between three and four days, and said he could not pinpoint when work would start due to potential weather factors. He said residents will be notified before work begins, and to look out for a notification in the mail.

Allen said milling and paving 1 to 2 inches of asphalt now at $10 per square foot is a better option than complete resurfacing of the street at $30 to $40 per square foot in the future.

He said once the streets are finished, Smithfield officials will identify more roads to resurface in the spring.

Allen expressed concerns over the amount of road paving projects needed in town against the annual allotted budget for projects.

When he started at the DPW in 2019, he said, the town needed approximately $15 million to get all roads up to good condition. Rating Smithfield roads on a 100 scale, the roads have a rating of 66 percent on average.

To adequately tackle projects, said Allen, the town would need to invest $1.5 million on road surfaces for the next year, but Smithfield approves $500,000 annually for pavement management.

The Valley Breeze is committed to keeping quality news stories like this one free to our readers. You can be a huge part of this local journalism success story by making a one-time or monthly contribution to what we do every week. Thank you as always for reading.

At the current rate, spending $500,000 each year, he said, the backlog to get all town roads up to good condition has increased and is now estimated at $18 million.

“We’re moving backward, we can’t keep up. It’s a challenge,” he said.

Allen said the DPW also maintains most roads using crack sealer and asphalt to fill potholes to keep surfaces from getting worse. The DPW uses less expensive micro-sealing on several roads in town, which adds a mixture of water, asphalt and crushed rocks to an existing asphalt surface.

While the technique extends the life of a road, some residents previously expressed dissatisfaction with the results. In 2019, several residents on Elizabeth and Diana avenues in Esmond complained about the micro-surfacing done on their roads.

Allen said the practice of micro-sealing is common, and he has not received complaints from other residents on the many roads that have gotten such a treatment since. He said parts of Smithfield Avenue and Greenville Avenue were microsealed, and he did not hear any negative feedback about the work.