Westwood [Massachusetts] roads receive top ratings

Boston Globe, 12 January 2016
Johanna Seltz

The Department of Public Works in Westwood owns some bragging rights: The streets throughout town have an all-time high rating of almost 86 out of 100 – up nearly six points from five years ago, and considerably higher than most other communities in the state.

That’s the word from Westwood’s director of public works, Todd Korchin. He said the rating came from Beta Group, which drove every one of the more than 90 miles of roadway in town to assess the pavement condition.
“It’s something our department is pretty proud of,” Korchin said. He said Beta Group officials told him that the average pavement rating around Massachusetts was about 70 percent – compared with Westwood’s 85.9.

Korchin said Westwood voters’ approval of a $2.4 million road improvement bond about four years ago was one factor in the roads’ good condition, as well as the $500,000 the town receives annually from the state for roadwork.

In addition, he said the town has been using some new and effective “pavement preservation techniques,” such as micro-surfacing roads with a thin slurry of sealant instead of waiting until they’re in bad enough condition to need total repaving.

Micro-surfacing is about a third as expensive as repaving and extends the life of a road, he said.

Korchin said Westwood has a computerized system that keeps track of road conditions and maintenance work, and uses Beta Group in Norwood to assess its pavement management every five years.

The computer record is web-based and accessible by smartphone, Korchin said, “so we can be out in the field and say, ‘Geez, this road really doesn’t look that good. It’s rated a 70, but I’m going to rate it lower so it will pop up’” when priorities are made for scheduling roadwork.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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