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What is Boston's Deep Roadway Maintenance Program?

September 19, 2016

Public Works

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Public Works

If you are not in the business of roadway construction you may not be familiar with the many intricate methods of fixing the City’s public right-of-ways. Doesn’t the City just pave roads when they need it and then repaint the lines? Simply put, not always, and here’s why.

Often, streets that are in poor condition need more than just a resurfaced layer of asphalt.  A full reconstruction project repairs these streets, but is a lengthy and expensive process which includes design for not only the reconstruction of the roadway, but also for sidewalks, traffic signals, and street lighting, while potentially reconfiguring traffic patterns, parking and street layouts. But what about the streets that can’t wait for full reconstruction, yet are too deteriorated to be fixed with resurfacing only? That’s where the Deep Roadway Maintenance Program comes into play.

Deep Maintenance treatments address these poor condition streets by digging up the street, reconstructing and compacting the roadway, then treating the surface with new pavement and striping. All of this is done without redesign of sidewalks or any change to the current street layout.  The Deep Maintenance program allows us to fix the poorest condition streets faster and cheaper than a typical street reconstruction project.  Pedestrian ramps on Deep Maintenance streets are upgraded to full ADA compliance. 

 The process that the City typically uses for deep roadway maintenance is called Full Depth Reclamation and is a way of recycling the old roadway into a new one.  A special machine pulverizes the existing roadway and mixes and compacts the material into a strong base for the new road surface.  After the new base has been graded and compacted, the new road is paved and striped.  

The City is aware that there are needy streets all over Boston, but not every street is an ideal candidate for deep maintenance. The sidewalks and street lighting infrastructure need to be in sufficiently good condition to leave untouched.  All utility work scheduled for the street must be completed before roadway construction by the City can be scheduled, and there are certain roadway materials that work better for full depth reclamation than others.  This construction process may be noisy, but we always make sure that accessibility for pedestrians and homeowners is maintained.

During this construction season, we will be performing deep maintenance on Claymont Terrace, Gaylord Street, Mora Street, Mallon Road, Mahler Road, and Zeigler Street.  We plan to continue the Deep Maintenance Program in 2017.