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A Hummel Report Investigation

Protected Streets?

Millions of taxpayer dollars are going into the streets of Providence - literally - as the city is more than halfway toward completion of a $40 million road repaving project. This week, Jim Hummel is back with an issue a taxpayer raised two years ago: Why are utility companies digging up some of the roads within months of having new asphalt put down when they’ve agreed to stay away from these protected streets?


Wherever you go in Providence, they are hard to miss: freshly paved streets. A welcomed relief for beleaguered motorists who for years have had to navigate through streets that looked like this.
The city is more than halfway through a $40 million paving project approved by voters in 2012 and expects to finish ahead of schedule by the end of the year.
Damico: ``I think the paving has actually been great. Because we’re out here on Manton Avenue, it was pretty much hellacious, it was all chopped up.’’
Jim Damico lives in Providence near the Johnston line and rides his bicycle every day the weather allows him to. So he notices things about the roads many motorists don’t.
We first met Damico two years ago after the city repaved and installed a bicycle lane on Broadway - his preferred riding route to work on the East Side. He was concerned then that within months of the paving, utility markings appeared on the street - and some other streets were dug up shortly after the paving work.
Now Damico says, it’s happening again.
Damico: ``But now that they’ve repaved it I’ve been noticing more and more utility companies are coming in and cutting up the roads, which seems to be antithetical to the $40 million the taxpayers have invested in.’’
Bombard: ``Most of the work is being done as emergencies…’’
DPW Director Bill Bombard answered Damico’s concerns then - and now. Bombard said the utility companies signed an agreement in 2008 not to work on newly-paved streets for five years unless it was an emergency. And if they had to, the street had to be restored to its newly-paved condition.

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