Monthly Archives: March 2011

Physical Plant Annual Steam Shut Down

This year’s Physical Plant Annual Steam Shut Down has been scheduled. The dates for this Steam Shut Down are from May 16, 2011 to June 3, 2011.

 The areas scheduled for repair and maintenance work during this year’s Steam Shut Down is all the Dormitories and Dining Commons in the Southwest Area. Also New Africa House, Studio Arts, Hills, Gorman, Baker House, Chadbourne House, Brooks House, Greenough House, Van Meter House, Butterfield House, Fernald Hall and the Apiary will be affected.

 The types of services that will be interrupted in these areas are steam, domestic hot water, and air conditioning. Individual building shut down notifications for Steam Shut Down 2011 will be sent out shortly by the Physical Plant.

 Please contact Tom Fydenkevez at phone number 545-3231 if you have any questions or comments about this evolution.

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

Beginning March 14, 2011, the Landscape and Construction Services staff will be out in force beginning our Spring clean-up.  Crews will be seen along sidewalks and road ways power brooming.  Power brooming removes the winter debris (salt, sand, dead material) detaching the lawn for spring growth.  The road sweeper will be out sweeping along the granite curbing along the roadways where debris has gathered.    Crews will be working in the flower beds removing dead material and completing winter pruning.

Winning Collaboration

The Physical Plant Landscape Management Department has entered into a winning collaboration with the Stockbridge School. The Landscape Management has developed an internship program for Stockbridge school students.  Stockbridge Undergraduate students can now complete their internship requirement with the Physical Plant Landscape Management Department.  The Landscape Management Department, the Stockbridge School student, and the Umass Campus Community benefits from the experience, knowledge, and expertise each unit brings to this opportunity.    The first internship was awarded this week.

Planning Retreat

On Monday, March 21, 2011, the supervisory staff for Landscape and Construction Services will gather for our planning retreat.  We will be developing our workload plan for April through November 2011.     We have lawn repair from a rough winter.  We have flowers to plant.  We have projects to complete from last year (Visitors Center, Worcester Dining Commons).  We have events to support (Commencement, Alumni Weekend).  We have maintenance work (collapsing catch basin, stair work, lawn mowing).  We have utility support projects (Electrical wiring, fire hydrants).  We have new projects (sod at Haigis Mall, University Club).   These are in in support of the Umass Amherst  Framework for Excellence by capitalizing on opportunities to provide adequate facilities for faculty and students, while addressing new construction needs and deferred maintenance issues on the campus.

Stadium Road

constructionThe north side of Bernie Dallas Mall was closed on Monday March 7, 2011.  The road condition has deteriorated making the road impassable.   Once frost clears from the ground, Construction Services staff will use their Asphalt Zipper attached to a bucket loader to “grind up” the asphalt.  They will pulverize the asphalt and reclaim the material, grade and reshape the crown of the road for drainage, and compact the reclaimed material that can be later paved or sealed.    Vehicles will be able to drive on the compacted material.  The south side of Bernie Dallas Mall will be completed after the north side.

Pothole Season

potholeA pothole, noun, is a surface disruption in a roadway, caused by fatigue and erosion.

Last year, Physical Plant Construction Services used 88.22 ton of hot asphalt mix and 21.03 ton of cold patch filling in potholes on campus roads, totaling $8228.92 for both patching products.

During the summer months, the Physical Plant Construction Services staff use hot mix asphalt produced by at All States Asphalt Plant to patch potholes. In the winter months, when production of hot mix asphalt is not possible, they use cold patch.  With spring rains and vehicle traffic, cold patch gets washed and/or bounced out of the potholes.

Over the last five year, the major campus roadways that have been paved are Massachusetts Ave, Clark Hill Road, Thatcher Road, Eastman Lane, and Commonwealth Ave.  This paving has reduced the overall number of potholes on campus roadways.  For the most part, potholes are occurring on the secondary campus roadways, Campus Center Way, Holdsworth Way, and Stadium Road.   The ingredients of a hard winter provide the recipe for potholes. Snow, ice and rain provide ample moisture and severe cold causes pavement cracking that allows water to seep in, expand and displace paving material. Add sunlight, which creates varying temperatures that keep the damaging freeze/thaw cycle in motion. And finally, warmer spring weather accelerates the freeze/thaw cycle, causing pavement to deteriorate even more quickly.

Most potholes are formed due to fatigue of the road surface. As fatigue fractures develop they typically interlock in a pattern known as “alligator cracking”. The chunks of pavement between fatigue cracks are worked loose and may eventually be picked out of the surface by continued wheel loads, thus forming a pothole. Potholes occur when snow and ice melt as part of seasonal freeze-thaw cycles.  The resulting water then seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of traffic. As the temperatures cool to freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to pound on this raised section – and the temperatures once again rise above freezing – a shallow divot occurs under the surface and the pavement breaks, forming a pothole

To report a pothole, please call the Physical Plant Services Desk at 545.6401 or go to the feedback link on the Physical Plant web page.