By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — Drivers on streets in the Mount Washington neighborhood are getting a smoother ride — and it cost taxpayers less than usual to get the job done.
The city has paved five roads using the so-called micro-paving process, which costs about one third of the price of traditional paving methods, Mayor James Fiorentini said.
The process consists of mixing stone dust with asphalt to create a material that is spread on the street about half an inch thick. The mixture takes about two hours to dry before vehicles can travel on it, the mayor said.
Recently micro-paved roads include Blaisdell, Marshall and Swasey streets, and Bellevue Avenue and Alexander Way. The paving jobs were completed in two days for $100,000, Fiorentini said.
He said the city would not have had the money to repair those roads using traditional reconstruction paving methods.
“It’s not for really bad roads or for major roads,” Fiorentini said of micro paving. “But for certain areas it works well as an alternative method that allows us to pave more roads for less money.”
Micro-paved road surfaces generally last about seven years before they need to be done again, the mayor said.
Fiorentini said that several years ago, the city began using a computerized system to inspecting roads. The system designates the correct paving process and puts each road on a schedule for repairs. He said about 25 percent of this year’s paving budget has been set aside for alternate methods such a micro paving.
“This proven process has been used by other communities and has lasted many years,” Fiorentini said.
The city is planning to micro pave several more roads this summer, starting with Ridge Road, he said.
Summer is typically a busy time for road repaving in Haverhill. Most summers, the city resurfaces several miles of streets.