Frequently Asked Questions
Visit the Projects Links page to find out who is responsible for a particular construction or infrastructure project going on or planned for Salem. If the project is not on the list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-619-5600 to find out. Many of the projects happening in Salem are not actually being undertaken by the City itself. Some are state projects, such as the MBTA garage and the Salem State University library deconstruction, and some are private projects, including work underway by non-profits (Peabody Essex Museum expansion) and private corporations (Footprint energy facility or RCG developments). One of the primary reasons BuildingSalem was established was to help residents, businesses, and visitors with a single point of contact for all of these projects, no matter who the responsible party is. While not all of these projects are being undertaken by the City of Salem, they are all being undertaken in the City of Salem.
The process of filing a claim depends on who is the responsible party for the relevant project or work that was being done. In all cases, you should contact your insurance company and, if applicable, your own attorney. The City cannot provide legal services or advice on your behalf. If the project in question is one being undertaken by the City of Salem, then claims inquiries should be directed to the Salem Legal Department, 93 Washington Street, Salem MA 01970, 978-619-5633. All claims filed in regards to a City matter must utilize the official claim form. If the project is being conducted by any other party, their contact information is available at the Projects Links page. Most of those projects will have a specified “stakeholder relations” or “customer service” individual who can answer questions about filing claims. Some even have claims forms available directly on their website. You should take care to carefully document all incidents, retain written records of all communications, and consult with your own legal counsel if necessary.
While all of these projects are conducted by different entities – the City, the Commonwealth, non-profits, and private companies – they all must comply with the ordinances of the City of Salem with respect to allowable levels of noise, when work may and may not be conducted, and so forth. In most cases, the operation of construction equipment is not permitted between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Mondays-Saturdays, in particular if the noise from the construction activity carries over a residential property line. In some instances variances to this ordinance are granted by the Building Inspector or, in some cases (blasting, rock crushing, jack-hammering, and pile-driving) by the City Council. If you have a complaint about suspected after-hours work, noise, or other disruptive activity at a construction site, contact the Building Inspector‘s office at 978-745-9595 x5641. If the matter is after normal business hours and requires urgent attention, contact the Salem Police Department‘s non-emergency line at 978-744-1212.
The City also operates the online Knowledge Base – a convenient site where you can review commonly asked questions and submit your own questions. You can also submit requests for City services using SeeClickFix.
Many of these updates are made via the BuildingSalem Facebook page and Twitter feed. In some instances, entities conducting a project are required by law to provide certain notifications to residents and businesses who directly abut a project site or route – or a proposed project site or route. In many cases temporary parking restrictions or road closures are announced via the City’s regular public information outlets. These are:
- CodeRED (sometimes also called Reverse-911), which provides notification by email, text message, and/or telephone. When you sign up (click the link) you’ll be required to also enter your address. This way the City can be sure to send you notices specifically relevant to the neighborhood in which you live.
- Salem News & Announcements is a customizable set of news updates that are sent right to your email after you’ve signed up. You can receive meeting notices and agendas, some project updates for City projects, news and announcements, and more.
There are two easy way to report a pothole or defect on a City roadway:
The City has completed a Pavement Master Plan that provides an assessment of each street in the City, as well as the estimated cost of repairs. Based on that document, the City Engineer assembles an annual list of roads throughout Salem that are scheduled for either complete repaving or more limited rehabilitation. Because funds are limited for repaving, the list of streets that the City is able to repave each year is far from the complete list of streets that ought to be repaved – there simply aren’t enough dollars available. Streets are added to the final paving schedule based on several factors. The City attempts to include a proportionate share of roadways from each neighborhood Ward. Streets that were on a previous year’s paving schedule but were not completed are normally included, as are streets that were only partially paved in the previous year. Some paving dollars are reserved for more substantial road improvements and reconfigurations. The City does its best to accommodate resident and business requests, but cannot possibly repave every road suggested.
That said, the City is always open to receiving requests for streets to be included on future paving schedules. Every request is given careful consideration by the City Engineer and staff, with special attention paid to estimated cost to repair, frequency of use, safety considerations for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and share of roads in the same Ward already on the schedule. Requests can be made to the City Engineer by phone to 978-619-5673 or by email.
Sometimes, construction work can be dusty and dirty. Now and then it can also cause rodent activity to increase in an area. Most construction projects are required to file an integrated pest management plan to mitigate rodent presence and some are also required to provide a dust or air quality control plan to reduce dust and dirt that might be kicked up during work. There is no perfect solution to either of these temporary problems, but the City works hard to reduce the frequency of each. If you feel there is an undue level of dust from a particular construction project or that you have a rodent problem that has been triggered by construction work, contact the City’s Health Department at 978-741-1800 or by email. You may also report some issues, such as rodents or debris, by filing a service request with Commonwealth Connect.
Contact the BuildingSalem coordinator at email@example.com or 978-619-5600. Some construction sites may be required to post the sign at their site, but even if you are not required to do, we still encourage that you do. Helping to spread the word about the communication and information outlet can help your work as a project manager or sponsor go more smoothly.
You can search and read the answers to over a hundred frequently asked questions about City government and services in Salem at https://seeclickfix.com/salem_ma/questions. If you don’t see your question answered, you can fill out the simple form on the page to ask it.