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Highway and Bridges Division

Sal Solomon

The Highway and Bridge Division staff of DPW is among the more visible, more frequently seen group of City employees. This group is made up of 49 employees (including foremen) under the direction of the Highway Superintendent and the Assistant Highway Superintendent, is responsible for the maintenance of 370 miles of roadway and 50 City owned bridges; they provide typical roadway related direct service to the public in such areas as winter snow plowing and sanding, pothole repair, sidewalk cleaning and repair, and litter removal.

The City purchased a second sweeper in FY2007, so beginning in the spring of 2007, the department utilized only two contract sweepers. DPW staff assists with contracted street sweeping by providing trucks to haul the material that is picked up by the sweepers; sweeping debris hauled to the state landfill totaled in excess of 2,500 tons. Supervisory staff from Highway and Bridge is responsible for monitoring the sweeping contractor's operation to insure that work is efficient and productive. The Highway and Bridge Division is involved in a wide variety of functions related to streets - and sometimes for other agencies. This group is responsible for the emptying of street waste receptacles that are placed in commercial areas throughout the City. It is notable that the number of on street waste receptacles has been increased from 437 two years ago to 550 at the end of FY2010. We provide clean-up after special events such as neighborhood/organization/ethnic festivals. DPW staff also provides clean-ups of lots when owners do not respond to the City's requests; the property owner is then billed for the costs. DPW crews provide regular clean-up of the City's "gateways" including Dean Street, Fruit Hill Avenue, Manton Avenue, Branch Avenue, Industrial Drive, Smithfield Avenue, and other roadways that carry traffic into the City of Providence. In addition to organized clean-ups, Highway staff provide day-to-day clean-up along the City's streets.

In our effort to cooperate with neighborhood community groups, we have provided roll-off containers for neighborhood clean-up activities. The Highway and Bridge staff assists the Environmental Division by providing the workers and equipment that do the work.

Included in the mix of workers in the Highway Division are four cement finishers who repair sidewalk slabs along the 370 miles of City streets - there are nearly twice this many miles of sidewalk. Repairs to locations with a fault in excess of three inches have been given priority. In addition to sidewalk work the asphalt crew is responsible for road restoration after sewer work by the DPW Sewer Department and failed utility patches (more than five years old).

The employees of the Highway and Bridges Division assist with the closure of the street gates. They also clean the trash racks of the Hurricane Barrier to remove debris from in front of the barrier pumps on a weekly basis.

Among the very visible functions provided by DPW are winter storm operations - plowing and sanding during snow and ice events.

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