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It was a “blockbuster” construction season this year in Boston, when Boston Public Works set out to break their record of most new roads paved in a season. Above, you’ll see the results. Meet the crew who made it happen: 

I will pave 100 Miles, and I will pave 100 more… from City of Boston on Vimeo.

It was a “blockbuster” construction season this year in Boston, when Boston Public Works set out to break their record of most new roads paved in a season. Above, you’ll see the results. Meet the crew who made it happen: 

I will pave 100 Miles, and I will pave 100 more… from City of Boston on Vimeo.

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There are 7,000+ miles of utilities running beneath Boston- meet a person who knows them all.

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"The temperature of asphalt is 300 degrees Fahrenheit."

— City of Boston Public Works

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"Boston sidewalk curbs are shaped stone slabs made out of granite. The City of Boston uses granite because of its strength in containing concrete, and is resistant to ice and road salt in winter."

— City of Boston Department of Public Works

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"Boston has more than 1,600 miles of sidewalk space. That’s enough to run a continuous sidewalk from Boston, MA to Miami, FL."

— City of Boston Department of Public Works

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"Many of Boston’s sidewalks which are referred to as ‘cobblestone,’ especially those in the North End and Beacon Hill, are actually made out of brick. True ‘cobblestone’ refers to rounded stones, a building material used for roadways in the 1600s. An example can be found on Acorn St. in Beacon Hill."

— City of Boston Department of Public Works

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Summer Sidewalks

In our next chapter of Public Works’ summer construction chronicle, we’re talking about how the City of Boston replaces and repairs sidewalks. There are more than 800 miles of sidewalk-lined roads in Boston; Boston Public Works is responsible for inspecting and maintaining every inch. 

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Boston Public Works crews install new sidewalks

Accessibility is of the utmost importance in our transportation spaces. Public Works guarantees that all new sidewalk spaces strictly comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Every new sidewalk is inspected to make sure the grade does not exceed 2%, which allows people who use wheelchairs safe access. Boston also requires the use of “detectable panels” at all crosswalks. Detectable panels are rectangular panels with bumps at the base of all pedestrian ramps, used to help those with vision impairments detect ramps and intersections safely.

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Sidewalk crew measuring for ADA compliance

Boston Public Works rebuild and mend damaged sidewalks. Every year, a Capital Investment Plan proactively catalogs and repairs broken and deteriorated sidewalks.

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Brick sidewalk repair

Boston Public Works is committed to providing a safe and comfortable pedestrian experience for residents and visitors, and your voice is an important part of this, too. If you see a sidewalk or ramp that you’d feel needs attention, please call the Mayor’s 24-Hour Hotline to report at (617) 635-4500. From Twitter to the Citizens Connect mobile app, this list contains every method to contact us.

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This summer, Boston Public Works aims to repave 45 miles of Boston road. What goes on underneath the surface of all that work? These are the six steps to repaving a road - click the images to learn about each step.

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Underneath the Surface: New Streets

This year, the City of Boston Public Works Department aims to pave 45 miles of city roads. Watch “Pave Harder,” the trailer for how this summer is going to be a real blockbuster. 

Frost heaves, pothole repairs, natural settling and utility repairs are some of the factors that bring on the need for repaving. The City’s Construction Management Division tracks street quality, and prioritizes roadway repaving. Every street that meets repaving criteria is then submitted to more than 20 utility companies, city and state agencies and contractors for review to make sure they do not have scheduled work that might interfere with resurfacing. Then, Public Works can get to work. 

The City Engineer organizes all roadways cleared for resurfacing by neighborhood and sets up a schedule evenly distributed across Boston, and those streets unable to be paved that year are set for the next.

Paving a street is a complicated but rewarding process. To get started, engineers leaflet affected homes and businesses to alert them about the pending construction, and two days before work begins, parking restriction notices are posted. Paving over cracked or damaged asphalt would reduce the lifespan of the new pavement, so crews mill, crack seal and apply tack coat to prepare it for the base level of asphalt. The base level provides roadway stability and helps provide a smooth ride until the final paving is applied. Manholes and other cast iron structures are adjusted, and finally the top layer is laid and compacted, setting the road up for the next ten years.

Find out when street paving is coming to your street here

Next: step by step, in pictures.

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This summer, Boston Public Works sets out to reach a new record: 45 miles of newly paved streets. Meet Kevin Linskey, a DPW worker who has paved every street in the city in his career, as he gets to work. New roads, pedestrian ramps and public spaces: it’s going to be a blockbuster construction season in 2013. We’ll be showing you Public Works at work using #BlockbusterBOS; follow to learn more about how Boston Public Works is improving your city this summer.