Contractors given green light to resume roadwork

Utilities companies and their private contractors will be allowed to resume construction on city streets Tuesday morning after a meeting with officials from the city's departments of Public Works and Basic Services.

The Monday afternoon meeting came six days after Mayor Thomas Menino issued a stop-work order on all construction involving city streets following an especially bumpy ride down Dorchester Avenue.

"We needed to have a conversation to say look, we're getting sloppy out there, and it can't continue; here's the new rules we're gonna follow," said Michael Galvin, the city's Chief of Basic Services. Galvin said a similar stop work order was enacted about five years ago with favorable results.

"I already had quite a few pages of jobs in the process of being completed stopped by our inspectional team, and jobs completed where inspectional services went out and found them substandard," said Galvin. "We have a history of who the problems are."

Galvin allowed that heavy rains in the last two months have complicated the problem by making the standard process for filling potholes insufficient, but said that the quality of many jobs city-wide was unacceptable. At Monday's meeting, Galvin and Public Works Commissioner Joe Casazza showed a slide show of deficient patch-jobs to an audience of nearly 60 utilities workers and contractors.

"I think once you showed the pictures, showed every type of typical repair job and what was done wrong, the utility companies understood more work had to be done with their contractors," said Galvin.

Mary McCarthy, a spokeswoman for P. Gioioso & Sons construction, said news of the return to work was a relief after a day in which the company lost roughly $5,000 dollars at each of its three Boston work sites by having to keep workers at home.

"This did delay us, but hopefully we can make up for last time by getting back out there tomorrow," said McCarthy. P. Gioioso & Sons is currently working on a sewer separation project in the St. Marks neighborhood in conjunction with Boston Water and Sewers, which they hope to finish by the end of the summer.

According to Galvin, Mayor Menino was confident that the meeting had achieved the desired effect.

"We're never satisfied," said Galvin. "We have a system of checks and balances, and the mayor wants that system increased to hold contractors firm and make sure they're doing their work right.