Always the way: Newly paved North End road promptly dug up

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports fresh pavement on Salem Street didn't last long before NStar came by to dig a nice big hole to do some work on its wires.

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    May be a false dichotomy

    I'm sure one pothole versus a 2012 Back Bay level burnout is much more agreeable to all.

    Yes, but better still would be to coordinate preventive utility work with a bit of a carrot: for the city to announce to all the utilities, 2 years in advance, "July 2015 we'll be repaving the following streets; for any work you complete between April and June, you don't need to pay the usual fee for street repair." ... and a stick ... for the year starting Aug 1, 2015, the usual repair fee for those streets is doubled.

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    What would really help

    If the cities and towns went out, inspected pavement repairs, and required that proper permanent repairs be done whenever pavement is breached.

    Dumping some cold mix in the hole is not a proper repair.

    A single bad repair can cause the roadway to fail and require costly repaving far more frequently than if contractors are held to proper standards that legally required. In other words, it isn't just a nuisance - contractors cutting corners and failing to follow up costs us all very big money.

    All it takes is some political will to make them perform according to the laws - the data on this are around and many cities and states have saved substantial sums by cracking down on shoddy pavement repairs.

    http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/pwd/eng/Documents/DurhamStreetCutRepair.pdf

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    They saw cut pavement now ,

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    They saw cut pavement now , instead of jack hammering it . There are specialized hot toppers after the digging, instead of the cold patch of which you spoke. There is a highway protocol that a street can not be opened up, except for emergency repair , before 5 years, if it has been reworked. Some examples of the rules , at random selection :

    http://www.hingham-ma.com/publicworks/Documents/Hingham_Stree_Excavation...

    http://www.foxboroughma.gov/pages/Foxboroughma_highway/Street%20Opening%...

    http://www.townofnorwell.net/public_documents/NorwellMA_Highway/RoadOpen...

    That's not the contractors' fault

    Dumping some cold mix in the hole is not a proper repair.

    But that's what the city requires the contractors to do.

    Instead of requiring that utilities do a proper repair, the city requires that they pay to the city the cost of a full repair and just put in a temporary patch; the city then does a permanent repair later. Utilities have long argued that this is inefficient, and that that they could do a better job and faster. The city, however insists that the current scheme allows money to be funneled to somebody's cousin who has a city contract for the city to pool the money and use it for fixing those streets that most need repair.

    They already do this. Search

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    They already do this. Search for "boston resurfacing" and you'll see the schedule.

    I believe the city's policy is (or at least used to be) that if a utility digs up really-new pavement, then the utility has to redo the whole section. They can't just throw a patch on it.

    Indeed

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    They are also required to put a surety bond down for roadwork, and in a case like this they would forfeit it if the roadway doesnt meet a very high post-repair standard.