It’s that time of year again, when construction crews are out in full force across the state to complete any roadwork that seemingly always needs to be done. Only in Cranston, department of public works director Ken Mason says that it’s been especially ramped up this year because of increased funding, and by late August they’ll have repaved roughly 14 and a half miles of city roads.
The July phase of the project, set for this Sunday night into the work day on Monday, July 9, takes place on Park Avenue, starting at the beginning where it meets Broad Street in Edgewood and ending at Mayflower Road, which is right next to the Dunkin Donuts near Park View.
In total, the city is doing six rounds of repaving on a month-by-month basis. It started in March, when a number of residential roads in Edgewood were repaved. In April, the most prominent projects were on Comstock Parkway and Natick Avenue, in addition to more residential areas in Western Cranston. Then in May and June, nearly 20 more residential streets were done around the city.
Mason did not release the names of the streets that will be done during the August phase of the project yet, which is the last phase of this year’s road repaving.
“They look fantastic,” Mason said about the roads that have been done already. “I think we’ve done a very good job minimizing traffic disruptions.”
He said the main traffic disruptions were during the projects on Comstock and Natick, because they’re such popular streets. He also said he expects there to be large traffic delays on Monday when they work on Park Avenue, though he said they’re trying to get as much done overnight Sunday as possible and hopes people take alternative routes if they can.
The city uses Narragansett Improvement as their roads contractor, and hasn’t had a problem retaining them, Mason said, because of a contract extension they made recently.
In recent years, the city’s ramped up their roadwork because of a bond issue that was passed in 2016. Mason said the $20 million bond set the city up to spend $4 million on roads every year through 2020. The intent, he said, is to do a total of 50 miles of city roads over the course of the bond. Mason said the city has 315 miles of road in total.
Previously, the city was spending around $2 million a year on road repaving. Mason said they did 12 miles of road last year and around 8 miles the year before.
“You can’t have perfect roads everywhere,” he said. “But we’re taking care of the worst ones to bring the city averages up to something better.”
Mayor Allan Fung expressed optimism about the roads project.
“The city’s strong financial position and high bond ratings allow us to maximize our $4 million dollar investment on paving and infrastructure this year,” he said in a statement. “We’re also continuing to use a data-driven model from our vendor, Beta Engineering, to prioritize roads based on need across every ward. This keeps politics out of the process.”
Beta Engineering is the analytical firm that determines which roads in the city need the work most urgently, and the repaving crews have acted accordingly with their choices of roads this year.