East Providence's planned 2017 road repair schedule is given a first glance

Botelho objects to scope, cost of proposal

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Residents got their first look at the planned road repair schedule for 2017 when Steve Coutu, Director of Public Works, presented his department’s proposed paving program at the April 18 city council meeting.

Mr. Coutu’s submission, which came during the meeting report segment of acting city manager Tim Chapman, stated the city has approximately $500,000 to spend on street paving, money derived from capital funds and highway operating funds for roadway rehabilitation. The director noted as was the case last year, contractor Pawtucket Hot-Mix Asphalt has again agreed to hold its contract prices over from 2015.

The following is the list of new proposed street pavings for 2017: New Road, from Newport Avenue to Green Lane Road; Fifth Street, from Warren Avenue to Juniper Street; Juniper Street, from Lyon Avenue to Fourth Street; Brightridge Avenue, from Warren Avenue to Brown Street; Earl Avenue, from Sherman Street to River Street; Franklin Street, from Metro Park Drive to Harriet Street; Harriet Street, Franklin Street to Willett Avenue.

The following is the list of roadways planned for repavement following the completion of water main improvement work: Greenwood Avenue (Don to Hoyt); Bishop Avenue (Newman to Ferris).

At the request of Ward 3 councilman Joe Botelho no action was taken by the body at last week’s forum. Mr. Botelho asked for more time to review the plan, which is expected to be back in front of the council for consideration at its next meeting on May 2.

In a follow-up memorandum penned to Mr. Chapman, Mr. Botelho questioned the equitableness of the paving schedule as well as its financial prudence.

Mr. Botelho wrote, “In the past, it was understood that any road work to be done in the city would be divided up evenly among the wards, as this is probably the most visible improvement impact that people relate to paying their taxes. Upon reviewing the current proposal, it appears that work is being done in every ward except (W)ard 3, which concerns me.

“I was also surprised at the few number of roads being proposed for re-paving, especially based on the number of roads throughout the city that are in such dire need of repair. The allocation of $500,000, which (is) a small percentage of the cities (sic) $175 million budget, should be able to accommodate a much larger scope than that of which is proposed.”

Mr. Botelho, who previously served on the council in the late 1980s, later cited figures from that approximate time period. In the city’s Fiscal Year 1985-86, he wrote the allocation for street/sidewalk repair was $160,000. He noted 26 roads were repaved with that figure. Referring to the federal government’s Consumer Price Index, Mr. Botelho claimed the $160,000 in 1985-86 money adjusted for inflation would equal $368,286 in today’s dollars.

He concluded his letter, “So in essence we are spending 26 percent more on fixing roads than 30 years ago, adjusted for inflation, and paving 65 percent less road(s). Please explain.”

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