Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


June 20, 2013

Drivers beware: Paving ahead

Road work gearing up despite delay in state funding

Fasten your seat belts — the ride around town is about to get bumpy.

Crews are preparing to repair and resurface 6.3 miles of roadway in the coming weeks at a cost of $1.6 million.

Starting next week, more than 20 road projects will chip, chew and resurface streets ahead of the hottest days of summer, when work is suspended because the road surface gets too hot, according to acting Department of Public Works Director Chris Cronin.

How long the work will take isn’t yet known.

“It’s subject to rain,” Cronin said.

The most expensive projects this season are on Lowell and Haverhill streets, both of which carry busy Route 133 through Andover on either side of Route 28.

The roads were “cold milled” this week, meaning the existing pavement layer has been scraped away, leaving manholes and sewer drains to jut out from the road. Now, crews await a stretch of sunny days, the optimal condition for paving, according to Cronin.

The work makes up the town’s use of the Chapter 90 road maintenance appropriation from the state.

“Right now, the governor has signed a $300 million bill, which is terrific,” Cronin said. “However, he has only released $150 million of that.”

A second Chapter 90 allocation is expected later this year, which will make way for more paving this fall, Cronin said.

Once the town learns how much additional money it will receive, officials will decide what roads to tackle next, he said. He expects that second phase of work to begin in September.

Overall, the road work currently scheduled consists of 6.28 miles of the town’s 185 miles of roadway. As a rule of thumb, the town should be doing around five percent of its roads — 9.3 miles of work — every year to keep up with ongoing deterioration, but the cash to do so isn’t usually available, Cronin said.

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