By Tom Shevlin
NEWPORT – A prominent neighborhood association is calling on the city make temporary repairs to the southern end of Bellevue Avenue while a more long-term solution can be planned.
In a letter written to City Council members, the Bellevue Avenue/Ochre Point Neighborhood Association said that "The condition of southern Bellevue Avenue urgently needs to be addressed by the City."
Pointing to a "multitude of holes" that dot the road's southern end, the group has been documenting the condition of the roadway for some time.
Several years ago, shortly after it underwent a significant restoration project, the road began to deteriorate.
Ultimately, the group commissioned an engineering study which determined the probable causes of the deterioration.
"One of the observations made in that study was that winter freezes enlarge any opening in a concrete roadway which holds water," Robert Beaver, BOPNA's president said.
Earlier this fall, the city took action, approving a multi-year roadway repair program for the historic street.
However, as Beaver noted, so far, the project has only addressed problems north of Memorial Boulevard.
"There are many holes of various sizes in the southern two miles of Bellevue, and the deterioration in the final stretch, the East-West 'dogleg,' has consistently been the worst of the entire Avenue - including that area which the City chose to repair in 2012," Beaver said. "To allow these holes to remain open through the winter/spring of 2013 is ill-advised for two reasons: 1. They represent a clear and present danger to public safety, especially for pedestrians and two-wheeled vehicles (some of the holes are long and deep enough to "capture" a narrow tire).
2. They will surely result in increased deterioration of the roadway through water freeze (an ongoing problem, as noted above from the engineering study)."
To help deflect the potential for further deterioration, BOPNA is asking that the city take steps to "expeditiously fill the roadway holes in southern Bellevue Avenue with temporary asphalt 'patch' material, which can remain in place until the appropriate permanent repairs are made."
City Council members are expected to take up the request when the meet for their first meeting of the new year on Wednesday, Jan. 9.