University News

Chronic potholes linked to U.’s power plant

Contributing Writer
Sunday, November 20, 2011

Potholes on Lloyd Avenue, which have gotten worse over the past year, have been linked to a pipeline connected to Brown’s power plant.

Though potholes are common throughout Providence, the Lloyd Avenue sinkholes continue to deteriorate, and repeated repairs have proven ineffective in preventing more potholes from emerging.

A drainage pipe connected to the Brown power plant is likely causing the potholes, said Stephen Maiorisi, vice president for facilities management. There is a “major infrastructure problem with the drainage line,” said Maiorisi. “(The) pipe is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 years old, so it’s very difficult to positively discern why it’s failing or what the cause is.”

Though the pipe is connected to Brown’s power plant, the University does not use the pipe exclusively, and the Department of Facilities Management is working jointly with the city to correct the situation.

“Something needs to be done to the pipe,” Maiorisi said. “We can’t just continue to patch. … This pipe is beyond its useful life.”

Residents have brought the pothole issue to the College Hill Neighborhood Association. Potholes are common, but the fact that they reappeared after repairs caused residents to voice their concerns, said Alison Spooner, president of the association’s board of directors.

A concrete plan has not yet been set to address the potholes. “The city’s looking for us to help with that replacement, and we’re willing to do that,” Maiorisi said.

Providence cyclists created a website Feb. 6 to document potholes across the city. “Going over your handlebars sucks!” reads the Providence Pothole Project’s Google Maps page, describing the “potholes that seem to plague our city.”

The site documents two potholes on Lloyd Avenue. One, called the “Perennial Pothole,” is described as “usually always there. Sometimes enormous. Always comes back. Frequently marked with a traffic pylon.”

Another, the “Sinking Hole” is “right at stop line and close to the curb” and “getting larger by the day.”