By Dustin Luca
---- — 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.
“We live and die by Chapter 90 funding,” he said.
Officials say it isn’t possible to tap the town’s tax reserves to pay for paving because there are too many other, big capital improvement projects demanding funding.
“The pressure of the CIP and balancing the needs for the entire community has resulted in the allocation of money for roadway paving to be less of a priority because of the Chapter 90 money we get,” Town Manager Buzz Stapczyinski said.
He noted, however, that as water mains are replaced, more roads will be repaved beyond what can be covered by Chapter 90 funds.
2013 ROAD REPAIRS: PHASE 1
So far this year, the town has scheduled the following road projects, including type of work, length and cost:
Alden Road: Leveling (paving 2 inches over existing road), 1,567 feet, $38,880
Arthur Road: Leveling, 641 feet, $21,600
Barrington Drive: Reclaiming (digging away 8 to 12 inches, then repaving 3 inches), 728 feet, $47,952
Cattle Crossing: Reclaiming, 442 feet, $26,460
Cindy Lane: Leveling, 475 feet, $16,200
Cross Street (River to Forest Hill): Reclaiming, 3,195 feet, $115,668
Cross Street (Forest Hill to High Plain): Leveling, 2,258 feet, $58,320
Elm Court: Reclaiming, 465 feet, $15,336
Haverhill Street: Milling (milling 2 inches off road, repaving 2 inches), 4,015 feet, $267,840
Lantern Road: Leveling, 570 feet, $14,040
Lockway Road: Leveling, 620 feet, $12,960
Lowell Street (Shawsheen to Lovejoy): Milling, 5,335 feet, $245,000
Marilyn Road: Leveling, 1,440 feet, $51,840
Mary Lou Lane: Leveling 1,067 feet, $41,040
Nutmeg Lane: Leveling, 920 feet, $21,600
Reservation Road (Lowell to Cutler): Leveling, 2,028 feet, $34,560
Seten Circle: Reclaiming, 1,293 feet, $53,892
Theodore Avenue: Leveling, 862 feet, $32,400
William Street: Milling, 2,739 feet, $166,320