Short Streets Could See Reconstruction Delay

September 13, 2013


by S. Aaron Shamshoyan

Residents living on a failing road under 500 feet could find reconstruction delayed over 10 years according to town officials as work on major roadways continues.

An updated road program proposed to Selectmen Monday calls for shorter neighborhood roads to be pushed back allowing for road maintenance to continue.

Director of Engineering Robert Puff said reconstruction of heavily traveled roads will soon be completed.  “All of those roads will be complete by 2017,” he said.  “That’s a very good position to be in.”

Puff said reconstruction will focus on neighborhood roads at that point but arterial roads will remain in a maintenance category.  “We’re going to start taking money away from mill and overlay,” Puff said if shorter road reconstruction projects were not delayed.

A proposed budget by Town Manager Keith Hickey last month called for level funding for 2014 of the 10-year road program.  “We’re able to do the same scope of work,” said Selectman Michael Lyons, citing anticipated favorable construction costs.

Road stabilization committee members drove the under 500 foot streets to assess their condition, said Lyons.  “We think this makes the most sense.

Selectman Stephen Campbell didn’t agree with the proposal.  “Those roads will never get done,” he said.  Campbell suggested keeping at least one of the shorter roads in the plan per year.  “They will see you making progress,” he said about residents on the roads.

The selected length of the roads came as a decision by the committee after driving the streets.  “We all agreed there isn’t a lot of benefit for the investment,” he said.

But work on the short streets could still continue.  Puff suggested if one of the roads became too deplorable, money from the Department of Public Works or the Roadway Capital Reserve could fund its reconstruction.

Puff also said bids for the 2014 road program were anticipated to come in below estimates.  He said reconstruction work could be funded from favorable bids.

Mill and overlay work on the under 500 foot roads will continue, only complete reconstruction is being delayed.

Hickey’s proposed budget calls for $4.615 in road repairs, the same as 2013.  This will include reconstruction of parts of North Policy Street, which was not originally planned for 2014 but Puff said required immediate action.

Puff said reconstruction of Sand Hill Road was scheduled for 2014 but was completed this year, leaving room for neighborhood road reconstruction in 2014.

The current plan is a draft, Puff said, with the committee seeking input from Selectmen.  A proposal will come before the board once finalized.