City to take legal action over High Street paint job

BRYAN EATON/Staff Photo. The city plans to file a lawsuit against the contractor who did this paint job on High Street last summer, charging that a new paving job was ultimately ruined when the contractor came back to rectify the problem.

NEWBURYPORT — The city plans to take legal action against a contractor for a faulty paint striping job that ultimately led to damage of the pavement on High Street. 

Residents and city officials were flustered last summer after contractor Hi-Way Safety Systems of Rockland left the newly repaved High Street rendered with badly painted lines that Mayor Donna Holaday called the result of "poor workmanship."

In September, the contractor returned to remove the incorrectly painted lines on the street, which required mechanically scraping off the pavement's new finish. It resulted in a set of rough groves that have since run along much High Street, leading many to question whether the quality of the pavement was compromised and would be more vulnerable to cracking and potholes this winter.

This week Holaday announced that ATC, an independent engineering firm hired by the city to analyze the High Street pavement, has determined that the scraped areas did, in fact, cause damage.

During its analysis, the company tested and compared cores from areas of High Street that were scraped and those that were not scraped. Holaday said the city will be referring to the test results as it pursues legal action against Hi-Way Safety for mitigation and a resolution to the issue, with hopes to obtain the $400,000 needed to repave High Street.

On Friday, Holaday said the city has not filed action, and hopes to work with Hi-Way Safety Systems to resolve the issue through insurance 

While the cold weather has put paving projects on hold for the season, Holaday said the repaving will hopefully be "the first thing we do in April." She also noted that construction for the planned Safe Routes to School project is set to begin on High Street this spring, and said she hopes the two projects can be carried out in conjunction with each other.

"We're trying to work with the company to resolve this as quickly as we can," said Holaday, adding that she hopes to quell concerns expressed by residents about the road in recent months.

"People are upset," she said. "It's taxpayer money, and we spent a lot of time and money to pave this road." 

Staff writer Jack Shea covers Newbury­port City Hall. He can be reached via email at jshea@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.

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