When a driver gets into a crash on the highway, auto body repair shops can replace fenders and broken windshields.
But who steps in when a vehicle strikes a public monument or demolishes a section of guardrail owned by the local community?
For more than 20 years, North Attleboro-based Muni-Tech Inc. has been one of the few companies in Massachusetts that make it their business to fix town commons, bridge abutments, parks and memorials that sometimes become the innocent victims of a drunk driver or rogue delivery vehicle.
The company gets paid by billing a responsible party’s insurance rather than having taxpayers foot the bill.
“We fix things and do jobs that possibly the highway department doesn’t do,” said company president Paul Maher, a former state trooper who has worked with subcontractors to restore damaged bridge abutments, repair historic stone walls and put back heavy public monuments knocked down or damaged by vehicles.
When the historic ornamental entry gate to Capron Park was toppled and heavily damaged by a delivery truck a few years ago, the city of Attleboro brought in Muni-Tech for a solution.
“That was a complex piece of work,” says Maher. “The ornamental metal arch with the words Capron Park was actually made in three sections and contained many, many pieces.”
Maher’s company found a subcontractor with machinery large enough to straighten and restore the twisted metal framework. Muni-Tech also found a source of granite to match a masonry portion of the gateway that needed to be reconstructed.
In Wrentham, Muni-Tech responded when a vehicle struck a historic watering trough and caused other damage in the center of town. The giant cast iron fixture is in the process of being restored and repainted.
From rebuilding historic stone walls to repairing damage left behind by a shattered water main, Muni-Tech is often called to provide safety barriers as well as to start the process of making permanent repairs.
Muni-Tech experts are on call 24 hours a day, Maher said.
In emergencies, employees can be on the scene within hours to set up barriers and make locations safe until a fix can be made.
Since its incorporation in 1994, Muni-Tech and its subcontractors have handled hundreds of jobs from cleaning up after fires to fixing damaged sections of parks.
“The thing about this job is that it’s all different,” Maher said. “You don’t know what’s up next.”
Tracking down the party responsible for the damage and billing the insurance company sometimes requires a bit of detective work.
Recently, while investigating a broken section of guardrail, Maher found a license plate – presumably from the offending vehicle – embedded in a section of planking.
It’s all in a day’s work, Maher said.
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