WESTERLY — Work made possible when voters agreed in November to approve borrowing up to $15 million to upgrade roads, sidewalks, and bridges is progressing.
Reconstruction on 24 roads of 46 targeted to be worked on this year has begun and the Town Council, on Monday, authorized Town Manager J. Mark Rooney and his staff to seek quotes on adding Chestnut and Spruce streets to the list. The council also agreed to seek quotes on sidewalk work on parts of Spruce, Chestnut, Main and Pearl streets as well as on sections of Spray Rock Road and Greenman Avenue. Rooney said adding roads and sidewalks would not push out other projects that were originally eyed for work the road bond.
Voters approved borrowing up to $15 million to be spent over three years from the state Infrastructure Bank.
Town Engineer Kyle Zalaski and Public Works Director Donald Ouellette presented an overview of the road projects during the council's meeting Monday in Council Chambers at Town Hall. "This presentation shows how aggressive pubic works and engineering are in repairing town roads. It's not last minute as it might have been in the past," said Town Council President Christopher Duhamel.
Reconstruction of Woody Hill Extension, Cone Street, Andersen Court and Noyes Neck Road is complete except for paint markings, driveway improvements and the application of loam or grass seed. The other 20 roads that have already been started have been pulverized, graded, and received a binder course of asphalt.
Town staff have also performed surveying work in anticipation of the full-scale reconstruction of School Street that is scheduled for next year. Inspection and cleaning of the street's storm drains started Monday and a large tree at the intersection of Spring and School streets will be removed in the coming weeks. Zalaski said town staff hope to add Chestnut Street to the list of roads to be reconstructed this year since the road will be used as a detour route when School Street is reconstructed. He said Chestnut Street is in "fair to poor condition" and its sidewalks are in "dire" condition."
Potential work on Breen Road and Pasadena Avenue, which are in poor condition due to drainage problems, will be referred to the council's Public Works Subcommittee. Duhamel and municipal staff said work on the two roadways would require approval by the state Coastal Resources Management Council due to their proximity to the Pawcatuck River.
The town has initiated "high level" talks with CRMC concerning how to address problems on Atlantic Avenue, where frequent drainage problems cause potholes and crumbling, Zalaski said. The public works subcommittee will also study Atlantic Avenue. Rooney said the subcommittee could help define the scope of work, "goals and objectives" for Atlantic Avenue.