2015-05-14 / Front Page

More Roadwork on Tap

By Barry Bridges

Broadway, America’s Cup Avenue and Memorial Boulevard are not the only Newport thoroughfares due for upgrades this summer.

Ayrault, Calvert, and Pleasant streets top this year’s list of those to be rehabilitated through the city’s annual roadway improvement efforts.

The City Council approved the contract for 2015 roadwork at its regular meeting on Wednesday, May 13. Director of Public Services William Riccio reported to councilors that the lowest, most responsive bidder for the projects was the Narragansett Improvement Co. of Providence, which will upgrade 11 Newport streets at a total tab of around $2.13 million. Of that amount, approximately $1.85 million is for construction, while $131,000 will be earmarked for police traffic control and $150,000 is for other project contingencies.

The total bid came in at $286,000 below the next lowest offer from P.J. Keating Co. of Lunenburg, Mass. Narragansett also beat out several other companies, including Cardi Corp., which is preparing to launch construction on the most ambitious elements of the Broadway Streetscape Project, and D’Ambra Construction Co., which is enhancing pedestrian and biking amenities along Memorial Boulevard and America’s Cup.

A variety of improvements are designated for the selected routes, including excavation, cold plane and overlay, sidewalk and curbing improvements, as well as some utility structure adjustments.

Narragansett was previously awarded the bid for the roadway improvement programs in 2009 and 2010. “We have worked with this contractor before, and they will not have a problem in mobilizing the necessary equipment and being ready to hit the ground running within two weeks of all the necessary signatures,” said Riccio. He estimated that work would commence by June 1.

Other roads scheduled for 2015 are Spring, Farewell, Holland, Caleb Earl, Collins, Equality Park Place, Mount Vernon, and Marin.

The city is also continuing in its battle to stay on top of potholes as they emerge. “Early spring is the worst time for potholes, although they can materialize at any time,” said Riccio. Notwithstanding the harsh winter, crews are at the point that they should be at this time of year in making repairs. “Our patrols are out there keeping their eyes open,” he commented.

Residents can report pothole locations by calling the Public Services Department or submitting information online through the “service requests and complaints” tab that appears at the top of the cityofnewport.com home page. The administration is also investigating the feasibility of creating a digital application that will allow anyone to quickly report problematic craters through their smartphones, consistent with a council resolution that passed unanimously in March.

However, another aspect of that resolution, which asked the municipal staff to investigate the benefits of either purchasing or renting “Pothole Killer” trucks, is so far seeing a less-than-enthusiastic recommendation.

Riccio told Newport This Week that after a preliminary analysis of the contraption, he has reported to interim City Manager Joseph Nicholson that it may be less promising than councilors had hoped. “It may not be a wise investment,” he said.

According to the website of Pennsylvania-based Patch Management, Inc., its Pothole Killer truck-mounted units effectuate a 90-second repair process by using a “state of the-art spray injection system that is quicker and safer than traditional crew-based efforts.” The operator “controls a hydraulic boom, which clears the hole of debris, applies liquid asphalt to fill and seal it, and then tops if off with a dry aggregate coating.”

Riccio reports that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation recently penned a $600,000 agreement with Patch Management to use five of its trucks to supplement the state’s pothole regimen. If one was deployed locally, Newport would incur charges of $250 per service hour, or $2,000 per day.

“It’s another method you can use, but in a small city you have to look at all pieces of the puzzle,” explained Riccio. “This is a piece of equipment that is for seasonal use, and it may be better to invest in tools that could help us through the whole year. You have to balance the costs.”

Return to top