Smithfield approves nearly $40,000 for Grace Street sidewalk repairs

Published 9:46 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

Smithfield’s Town Council has accepted a $39,612 proposal by Suffolk-based Blair Bros. Inc. — the town’s street maintenance contractor — for the repaving of heavily worn sidewalks along Grace Street.

The sidewalk repairs were one of several projects Smithfield approved in April to be funded with a portion of its $3.4 million in remaining funds from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion federal pandemic relief package.

The proposal calls for the demolition and repaving of up to 1,141 square feet of concrete. Town Engineer Wayne Griffin stated at a Nov. 28 meeting of the Town Council’s Public Works Committee that he and Mayor Carter Williams had recently walked down Grace Street and identified 17 areas of sidewalk in need of repair.

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The work will not include repaving any of the sidewalk’s driveway accesses, though some are crumbling. According to Williams, driveway accesses fall to the Virginia Department of Transportation to maintain.

VDOT had planned to repave Grace Street in 2022 but received no bids for the work. VDOT is in the process of re-bidding the project, and anticipates the work to begin as early as spring 2023.

According to town staff, the nearly $40,000 cost for the sidewalk repairs is being driven by the inflated cost of concrete this year, an estimated $7,200 for Blair to subcontract flaggers to control traffic, and an estimated $3,000 to $4,000 for the concrete additives needed to allow the material to harden during winter.

The Nov. 6 vote to accept the Blair Bros. proposal was unanimous. The Town Council’s vote to use a then-unspecified amount of ARPA money for the project in April had also been unanimous.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued updated guidance that allows for localities to claim a “standard allowance” of $10 million in public sector revenue loss when documenting their use of ARPA funds. Since the town only received just over $8.7 million, the town is able to claim all of its funds as going toward revenue loss, according to town staff.

Other projects funded with the $3.4 million remaining as of April included adding football field lights at the Joseph W. Luter Jr. Sports Complex and adding automatic sliding doors at the Smithfield Center, both of which are now complete. The town had also earmarked ARPA funds for replacing the town-owned gazebo stage in front of The Smithfield Times office and a to-be-determined amount toward funding Smithfield’s portion of Isle of Wight County’s park-to-park trail, both of which are still pending.