WESTERLY — More than $1 million worth of road paving and sidewalk and curbing projects are set for this summer and fall.
The road work, expected to cost more than $720,000, is part of the town’s routine annual road improvement program. The sidewalks will be paid for by funds from a variety sources including the municipal budget and grants.
Town Engineer Sheila McGauvran reviewed the list of projects her department had developed with the Town Council on Monday. The council is expected to award contracts for the work and sign off on the project lists during a meeting scheduled for next Monday.
The condition of roads in Westerly has been a frequent source of criticism for years. Councilor Jean Gagnier, who is in his second two-year term, asked how best to address the problem.
“The number one thing that everyone complains about in New England is roads and potholes, and at least in the time I’ve been on the council we have really not spent enough money when it comes to road construction,” Gagnier said.
MacGauvran noted that all of the roads she has proposed for work require full depth reclamation, projects that take more time and money than simple resurfacing.
“It’s because that hasn’t been done in so long that you’ve got several years of full depth reclamation to do to catch up, and in the meantime, you’ve got decent roads that could be resurfaced that are going to continue to deteriorate so you almost need to invest an inordinate amount for a few years and then you could back it down to a resurfacing amount,” MacGauvran said.
A proposal for a new road construction bond or borrowing from the state Infrastructure Bank, which voters would likely be asked to approve on the November ballot, would help to catch up with the work, officials have said.
Roads to be improved are: Cobblestone Lane, Woody Hill Road, Joshua Street, State Street., Wells Streets, Pasadena Avenue, and Breen Road. The last two are under design and must be approved by the state Coastal Resources Management Council.
Pearl Street had been recommended for full-depth reconstruction but MacGauvran suggested replacing it with Whipple Avenue instead, because National Grid had informed her that the utility must replace a natural gas main on Pearl Street. To give the company time to complete the transition from an old steel main to a plastic one and to allow the area to settle, MacGauvran recommended holding off on Pearl Street until next year.
The road work will be paid for with $500,000 the Town Council set aside in the 2018 budget as well as $93,867 from the road bond approved by voters in 2014. The school department will contribute about $131,250 for paving work at Westerly High School and the Tower Street School Community Center.
J.H. Lynch & Sons Inc. of Cumberland submitted a low bid of $720,800, which includes a 15 percent contingency.
The seven sidewalk projects, expected to cost $359,00, are scheduled for Pierce Street and Industrial Drive; Spruce Street, Noank Avenue, Bluff Avenue, Everett Avenue, State Street School, and Atlantic Avenue. The project on Atlantic Avenue received a permit, which expires at the end of the month, from CRMC. MacGauvran said that Narragansett Improvement Co. of Providence has said it could complete the Atlantic Avenue project by the deadline if the contract is awarded soon. The company submitted a low bid of $252,653, which includes a 15 percent contingency.
The sidewalk work will be paid for with $100,000 in the 2018 municipal budget, two federal Community Development Block Grants for improvements to the town’s North End ($72,000) and for Spruce Street ($37,000), and with about $150,000 from the 2014 road bond.