Those with concerns can call the Nashua ‘Pothole Hot Line’

NASHUA – Greater Nashua resident Sean Murphy alleges that driving on city streets and roads during the last six months created more than $1,500 worth of damage to his vehicle.

“It’s like a Third World country driving down theses roads. The contractors, they come and rip up the road and it takes three weeks to get the blacktop people over there,” Murphy said in expressing his frustration.

Undoubtedly, many roadways throughout Nashua are in various states of condition. Nashua Division of Public Works officials continue toward improving the surface infrastructure, but some residents and travelers are finding that roads replete with cracks, potholes and other bumps are creating problems.

City officials say they are working to address the problems as quickly as possible. Those with concerns can call the Nashua “Pothole Hot Line” at 603-589-4797.

With some roads currently undergoing milling, others are receiving structural installs. Even more roads are slated to undergo paving, including Amherst Street, Cambridge Road and Broad Street.

While Murphy said he has attempted to bring his vehicle repair issues up to Nashua city leaders, he hasn’t gotten a sufficient answer regarding why it takes so long for the roads to be paved. Murphy, who works for a utilities contractor, said he has experience with removing parts of the roads to install utilities. After the work is finished, his company will usually have the road repaved within a day or two.

Murphy said he has photographs and receipts that provide proof of the damage he has sustained, including ball joint replacements. He said this is probably due to the extreme and sudden change in road profile on some streets. This is sometimes called a pitch.

“I think it’s completely unacceptable. The contractors don’t even put down the right pitch,” he said. “It’s too steep and you get more damage, and there is a little lip at the top that causes most of the damage.”

City officials said they are well aware of the concerns regarding the ongoing roadwork, and while it would be optimal to finish the work as soon as possible, certain factors have caused delays.

“We don’t like hearing these kinds of stories,” Nashua Division of Public Works spokeswoman Lauren Byers said of Murphy’s predicament. “We are doing a lot of major roads this year – they needed to get done, and we’re happy to address some of the major issues along the roads.”

With signs notifying drivers traveling down roads to oncoming roadwork and bumps where the pitch turns to pavement, Byers said motorists should be well aware of the work being done. She said drivers need to take the work into consideration and proceed through those areas with caution – or avoid them, altogether.

“When there is construction, you need to go slower,” Byers said.

“We ask people to avoid the areas if they can. If you’re using Amherst Street or Broad Street to get to the highway or downtown, don’t use them,” she added.

Other reasons for the lengthy completion of paving can be attributed to the structures in the roads leading to underground utilities that have to be adjusted to the new pavement after the roads are milled, prior to the roadwork being completed.

As the division works around different schedules, trying to cater to those who need to utilize the roads during the day, Byers said the contractors and crews are working against the clock when it comes to how much time during the year they can work on the ongoing paving projects.

Weather has also put bit of a damper on the progress being done on the roads. Also causing delays are the instances when the asphalt being used in paving does not meet the quality standards the division seeks to install. This was the case last week, when the contractors working on Broad Street began the paving process, only to have to remove the blacktop and work backwards on the progress due to sub-par asphalt.

“The quality of what was placed initially was poor, and we asked them to pull it up and put down the correct product. The asphalt was not optimum,” Byers said about last week’s situation. “We test it at the plant and test it when it is placed to make sure that it will last.”

Byers said despite some of the setbacks, crews are continuing to make progress. Although certain roads have been delayed for a week or two due to unforeseen circumstances the overall timeline has not been drastically changed.

While the process and progress might seem like there is no end in sight, Byers said when the work is finished, those who have waited patiently for a better driving experience will be happy with the outcome.

“People are going to love this when it’s finished. It’s going to be much easier to get around the city,” Byers said. “If we can just hang in there for another year or two, I think the end product is going to be worth the aggravation.”

Those interested in staying updated on which roads are under construction can look at the updates on the city’s website at https://www.nashuanh.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?CID=10.