Town Working To Fix Substandard Paving Job

Smithfield Public Works Director Lenny Branch views problems with repaving work at the intersection of North Street and Seventh Street. The intersection will likely have to be milled down and resurfaced again. Photos

The Town of Smithfield is working to fix numerous problems after a repaving contract awarded last Fall didn’t measure up to minimum standards.

Eight of the 15 streets resurfaced in a $403,775.60 bid awarded in September 2018 will have to be repaired or even completely resurfaced, according to Smithfield Town Manager Michael Scott.

In a 2017-18 Citizen Survey, residents indicated a top priority was to see more paving work done.  In response, the town council doubled the budget for resurfacing work in the 2018-19 fiscal year budget.  The plan includes awarding paving contracts in the spring and fall.

In the September bid, J.P. Edwards Inc. of Smithfield was the low bidder for the resurfacing.  Scott said J.P. Edwards sub-contracted the work to another company.   “They (the sub-contractor) did a poor job and we caught it,” Scott said.

Smithfield Public Works Director Lenny Branch said the subpar work includes rough surfaces, elevation differences, lumpiness, and unevenness when transitioning between the old and new surfaces. Some resurfacing work even created areas for water to pond on the road surfaces instead of drain off.

After the repaving was finished, 8 of the 15 streets failed minimum standards as specified in the bid contract the town manager said.

Scott said the subcontractor is now off the job and the town is working directly with J.P. Edwards to remedy the problems.   “They’re a good, reliable local business.  They have indicated they will make sure it is right.  We are comfortable we will receive a quality product, it’s just taking longer.”

WTSB attempted to contact J.P. Edwards for a comment for our story but our phone calls were not returned.

Branch said he has completed a punch list of repairs that need to be made.  The repairs will not cost taxpayers any additional funds.   “I’ve met with J.P. Edwards and I’m 100 percent certain we’ll get good quality streets.”

“I’m not worried,” the town manager added. ” We’ll get what we paid for.”

The resurfacing project was originally scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2018.  Depending on the weather, the repairs could take until the end of February.  Branch said some surfaces will need to be milled and repaved entirely.  Specifically a section of North Street where numerous problems were discovered.

Both the manager and public works director said J.P. Edwards was working hard and as quickly as possible to make the required repairs.  Neither city official blamed J.P. Edwards, rather the sub-contractor who did the work. The name of the subcontractor given to us by city officials could not be located online.

The Town will not release funds to J.P. Edwards for the repaving project until all the repairs are made.

The 15 streets that are part of the project include:

Dundee Street – From S. 5th Street to S. 6th Street
Caswell Street – From N. 7th Street to N. Brightleaf Boulevard
N. 9th Street – From Bridge Street to E. Market Street
North Street – From N. 5th Street to N. 7th Street
North Street – From N. 7th Street to N. 8th Street
North Street – From N. 8th Street to N. Brightleaf Boulevard
W. Hood Street – From S. Crescent to Vermont Street
W. Hood Street – From S Crescent to Walnut Drive
S. 6th Street – From E. Church Street to Woodall Street
Birch Street – From Old Goldsboro Road to Cul-de-sac
Bridge Street – From N. 3rd Street to N. 4th Street
Raindrop Circle – Cul-de-sac
Canterbury Road – From S. Sussex Drive to N. Brightleaf Boulevard
N. Front Street – From Bridge Street to E. Market Street.

The projects represent approximately 1.55 miles of town streets.