Several streets made the list for road repairs in 2017 presented by Department of Public Works officials and approved by the Town Council’s Public Works Committee.
Each year, the town tackles road repairs on multiple streets around town. Watertown devotes $2.5 million to road and sidewalk repairs annually, but the money does not go just to the worst roads.
Some on the list are among the most dire need of repair, others can avoid major problems down the line by doing some minor repairs now, said Rick Benevento, president of WorldTech, the town’s consultant for road projects.
The DPW uses a pavement management system developed by WorldTech to come up with the list.
“You do not want to do all the worst streets first,” Benevento said. “What you want to do is maintain, too.”
The worst roads will have full-depth reconstruction, where the entire roadway is ripped up and a new surface is laid down. Some roads can have the top layer ground up and replaced, in a process called mill and overlay. If the road just has cracks, a tar-like substance can be put down for what is called crack sealing.
Road are rated from 0 to 100, with 100 having no problems, one with a score of 73 would have some moderate cracking over 30 percent of the surface and some utility patches. A 52 would have cracks over more than half the roadway and multiple trenches and utility patches and some rutting. And a 0 is falling apart, with major pot holes.
Some streets may fall off the list for reasons such as the road needs utility repairs.
“You don’t want to redo a street and dig it up six months later because the water department comes in and replaces a water main,” Benevento said.
The DPW tries to keep track of the condition of the roads in town, but there are some streets they don’t travel on too often, said Town Engineer Matt Shuman. Sometimes they hear about it from residents.
“Believe it or now we do listen to resident input,” Shuman said. “Sometimes when people call it bumps a road up the list. We don’t drive down every part of every road.”
The DPW came up with its list of streets that will be repaired in 2017, and they are:
- Hovey Street
- Cushman Street
- Waltham Street, from Rosedale Avenue to Bridge Street
- Knowles Road
- Holly Street
- Whitcomb Street
- Irma Avenue
All these roads had water, sewer or gas replaced. Many had two or all three replaced. Most will have full-depth reconstruction.
When roads are replaced, the town looks to put in new sidewalks with granite curbing, when possible.
Public Works Superintendent Gerry Mee said at least workers may not be able to do full-depth reconstruction on at least one road on the list. On Irma Avenue, a number of homes have retaining walls up near the roadway, and it is unclear whether the walls go deeper than the sidewalk. If not, they could be damaged when the road and sidewalks are removed.
“We will do some minor excavating to see if we can pull (the roadway out) safely,” Mee said.
As for the 2016 road program, all the streets except one will be completed before winter, Shuman said.
Hillside Road, Hillcrest Circle, Grenville Road, Merrill Road and Purvis Street are done or are nearing completed. Edenfield Avenue, however, will not be worked on until the spring, Shuman said.