Main Street paving options on table

Published 11:38 am Wednesday, November 8, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Smithfield Town Council is considering four options for repaving Main Street.

The town has been waiting for Columbia Gas to finish repairing and replacing its gas lines, which is anticipated for early spring of next year.

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Hamtown’s unique thoroughfare has endured numerous incursions to its once earth-toned gravel surface since the town replaced its water lines earlier this year. The Town Council decided to hold up on repaving until Columbia Gas completed its work. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The paving options for Main Street being eyed so far include blacktop, stamped concrete, round brown pea gravel (the current surface), split round pea gravel or pavers, said Mayor Carter Williams.

VDOT would pave it with blacktop for free, said Williams, adding that the round brown pea gravel, which is what was there before, doesn’t wear real well.

A variant of that surface, the split gravel, holds up better, he said.

Williams favors pavers for the ease they would provide in conducting future road work, but said those are the most expensive.

Stamped concrete, the surface used to cover the town hall’s parking lot off Grace Street, is of that material, which comes in a variety of colors, said Williams.

Smithfield resident Brad Face, who was part of the group that worked to revitalize Main Street in the 1990s, said the existing surface was chosen to resemble Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg.

“It goes with what downtown Smithfield is,” he said.

Face said there were some issues with the installation of the existing surface, as the contractor had not worked with that material before and that it cannot be plowed after a snow.

Face said that whatever the Town Council chooses, it should not be black asphalt. He’s pleased the town is considering several options.

Once the surface is applied it won’t be replaced for a very long time and the town will be stuck with its appearance during that time, Face said.

Columbia Gas

Columbia Gas crews will begin surveying the town’s sanitary sewer lines in anticipation of repairing and replacing its lines beginning in January.  The survey will include the portion of Main Street from the stoplight at Main and S. Church streets to Cary Street.

Survey work on the 100 and 200 blocks will be completed at night, from about 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. and will take about three to five days. Surveying along the 300 block will be conducted during the day if possible, but could also require some work at night.

Surveying will generate little to no noise, but the work is a requirement of the gas company, said Town Engineer Wayne Griffin.

Actual work to repair and replace the gas lines is expected to begin in January and will require street closures in the 100-300 blocks, and will be done block-by-block. The project is expected to take about three months.  {/mprestriction}