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Felix A. Marino Company Uses Polymer Cement Decorative Surfacing to Increase Pedestrian Safety in Westwood

by: Paul Fournier
P.J. Keating crew installs surface course on Route 109 (High Street) during night shift mill and fill operation in Westwood.
P.J. Keating crew installs surface course on Route 109 (High Street) during night shift mill and fill operation in Westwood.
The Felix A. Marino Company (FAMCO) crew cleans up after installation of polymer cement decorative surfacing on a crosswalk at P.J. Keating’s project to “calm” Westwood, Massachusetts, traffic.
The Felix A. Marino Company (FAMCO) crew cleans up after installation of polymer cement decorative surfacing on a crosswalk at P.J. Keating’s project to “calm” Westwood, Massachusetts, traffic.
FAMCO crew sprays base course for installation of Endurablend decorative surfacing on one of many crosswalks.
FAMCO crew sprays base course for installation of Endurablend decorative surfacing on one of many crosswalks.
P.J. Keating placed 2-inch layer of SUPERPAVE polymer surface course after milling off 2 inches of existing pavement.
P.J. Keating placed 2-inch layer of SUPERPAVE polymer surface course after milling off 2 inches of existing pavement.
One of FAMCO’s spray trucks stands ready for another application as crew placed more than 7,000 square feet of polymer cement crosswalks on Westwood traffic-calming reconstruction project.
One of FAMCO’s spray trucks stands ready for another application as crew placed more than 7,000 square feet of polymer cement crosswalks on Westwood traffic-calming reconstruction project.
Workers install polymer cement decorative courses on two intersecting crosswalks at location of a pedestrian safety median.
Workers install polymer cement decorative courses on two intersecting crosswalks at location of a pedestrian safety median.
The Town of Westwood in southeastern Massachusetts recently “calmed” a sizeable portion of its vehicle traffic with a strong dose of polymer cement decorative surfacing.

Located 12 miles southwest of Boston, the community of 15,000 awarded a $2.5 million contract to P.J. Keating for the reconstruction of nearly 4 miles of Massachusetts Route 109. The project included installing Endurablend polymer cement overlay on more than 7,000 square feet of pedestrian crosswalks. Subcontractor Felix A. Marino Company (FAMCO) installed the decorative surfacing that is designed to create more visible areas frequented by pedestrians in order to encourage more attentive driving and reduced speed – therefore calming the traffic.

Transportation engineers count decorative surfacing as one of a number of traffic-calming visual changes that can be made to existing roads to improve safety.

Major Artery Upgrade
Route 109 (High Street) was chosen for this project because of its importance to transportation in the town, according to Todd Korchin, Director of the Department of Public Works.

“High Street is a major arterial roadway that spans the entire length of the Town of Westwood, from Walpole to Dedham,” he said. “This roadway is central to the town and is home to its downtown, providing essential connections to several historic neighborhoods, multiple business districts, schools, the Town Hall, Police and Fire Departments, the Westwood Library, and senior living communities. The DPW chose to design and construct this project as part of its goal to provide a high-quality transportation network for residents and visitors alike,” Korchin said.

Established in 1897, Westwood is a suburban community, home to more than 200 businesses, and an important transportation center with two commuter rail lines and MBTA bus service. The only regional stop for AMTRAK high-speed rail service from Boston to New York and Washington is located at the Route 128/University Park Station in Westwood.

Traffic-Calming Crosswalks
Keating’s contract, which was the second phase of the High Street Restoration Project, dovetailed with the previous phase of the project consisting of about 1.7 miles of sidewalks completed by Fred DeRoma & Son, Inc. Construction is financed by a $4.65 million Road Improvement Bond approved by the Town.
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High Street experiences about 23,000 vehicles each day on average. The work included in the High Street Reconstruction Project consisted of rehabilitating the busy thoroughfare from 300 feet east of North Street near the Walpole Town Limit to 80 feet west of Grove Street near Interstate 95 and the Dedham Town Limit. Under the direction of Keating’s Project Superintendent Corey Lopes, this 3.72-mile stretch of road was micro-milled 2 inches and paved with a SUPERPAVE polymer surface course. Work included removing and resetting existing curb, furnishing and installing new granite curb, building Portland cement concrete sidewalks and installing accessible curb ramps with new detectable warning panels. In addition, the contract called for resetting or adjusting utility and drainage structures, placing induction traffic loops, and installing Endurablend crosswalks. The latter is a microsurfacing system comprised of a polymer modified cement mixed with fibers and aggregates that is spray applied to existing pavements.

FAMCO became a manufacturer’s approved installer of Endurablend for the New England Region after an extensive search for a decorative surfacing product that does not negatively impact the pavement, according to Jim Henebury, Vice President.

“Being first and foremost a pavement maintenance contractor, we did not want to shorten the life of the underlying asphalt or concrete. This product stands up to heavy traffic, extreme weather, salts, deicing materials, and oils. It’s a good fit for New England,” Henebury said.

More Calming Measures
“We also had other safety and traffic calming engineering measures applied,” Korchin noted.

“As part of this project, all of the striping was re-installed along the corridor which included the restriping of crosswalks visibility, realigning crosswalks where feasible to improve sight distance and visibility, laying out consistent lane widths throughout the project but also creating reduced lane widths where possible, and increasing shoulder widths. We also installed retroreflective 3M pavement markers to better delineate lanes making them more visible in inclement weather.”

DPW staff under Brendan Ryan, Assistant DPW Director, provided general oversight throughout the project and coordinated with police and contractors regarding traffic control. Department staff also provided bidding services, project management, and coordination with businesses and other town departments. To help out, the DPW even hauled material on occasion.

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“Furthermore, the DPW hired BETA Group, Inc., the consulting engineering firm, to develop this project due to the professional relationship built up with the Town from working on previous projects. BETA’s Project Manager, Frank Marinaccio, P.E., led the project team that provided services for planning, engineering design, project management, and construction observation during all phases of the High Street Reconstruction project,” Korchin said.

DPW wanted decorative crosswalks installed to boost the safety of pedestrians walking along the town’s major downtown corridor. In line with this, BETA’s Marinaccio reviewed available decorative crosswalk options and recommended Endurablend “due to the value this product provides over traditional paver crosswalks base, the speed of installation, the cost-benefit of future maintenance, and its durability,” Korchin pointed out.

“The texture and color difference that this product has is expected to slow drivers and make crosswalks more prominent, emphasizing the areas where pedestrians may enter the travel lanes.

“The improved roadway with decorative crosswalks enhanced Westwood’s downtown aesthetic to become more attractive, inviting, and safe for all modes of transportation,” he concluded.

Leading the DPW
Under the leadership of Korchin the DPW operates and maintains the Town’s infrastructure and assets such as the following: the sewer collection system; storm drain system; 85 miles of roadways; sidewalks, bikeways, and other transportation facilities; street lighting and traffic control devices; buildings, grounds, fields, and parks; cemeteries; solid waste and recycling programs; municipal vehicles and equipment; and public facilities.

Korchin, a 20-year veteran of the Department, started out as a heavy equipment operator. A graduate of Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he worked his way up in the DPW, becoming highway superintendent, then DPW director, a position he has held since 2012.

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