Or risk a blown tire
Published in the August 5, 2015 edition
By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — Proceed with caution and seek an alternate route.
This is the advice tire companies are giving drivers as they navigate the roadways in Wakefield, especially along the North Avenue and Albion and Salem streets corridors.
Since mid-July, police have received at least five calls from irate drivers who blew out their tires after striking raised castings. This, in spite of traffic cones and orange paint on raised castings and manhole covers designed to warn drivers to avoid them. Most of the damage has been done while drivers have been traveling on North Avenue.
The average cost to replace one tire is $100.
Tire replacement company owners said they have been seeing between two and three car owners every day reporting blown tires due to ongoing construction in Wakefield’s roadways. About half of their customers are Wakefield residents. The other half live in surrounding towns.
“People have not been happy,” said one employee at a tire company who asked not to be identified. “They’ve been running their tires into manhole covers and raised castings, resulting in sidewall damage,” he said.
Several days ago, the same company replaced four tires, all on the same vehicle.
“Obstacles cannot always be avoided,” said one tire company employee. “It’s better to take an alternate route.”
Director of the Department of Public Works Richard Stinson said that people who have blown tires while driving in areas where road construction is underway should write a letter to the Town Clerk at Town Hall explaining their situations, but that because all areas are marked for construction drivers may have no recourse. He said most of the work is being done on North Avenue and Salem and Albion streets.
“The town’s insurance company may or may not cover expenses for tire replacement,” said Stinson.
Work on the problem roadways will continue through summer and is expected to be completed by the opening of schools. Stinson said he is aware of the problem roadways and that yesterday’s bad weather did not help matters because rain fills potholes and they expand.
“There’s a lot of preparation work involved in getting the roadways back up and running,” said Stinson. He noted that prior to any paving work, crews need to install handicap ramps, make adjustments to curbs, repair sidewalks structures. Manholes and catch basins also need adjustment.
Utility adjustments to watergates at the intersections of Yale and Avon streets and North Avenue will be done once all other work is completed.
“The WMGLD will install gas main on Albion Street in addition to our other work,” said Stinson, adding that handicap ramp installation and sidewalk repairs on Salem Street have been started and utility work is done.
Structure adjustments and repairs on North Avenue will be made on Aug. 17.
“Once this is all done, we will pave North Avenue, then Albion Street with Salem Street to follow,” said Stinson.
“We hope to have everything completed before school opens in September. It’s all weather and contractor dependent.”