Officials pave way for road repairs

Lewisboro’s much-discussed and carefully planned road repaving effort will be getting under way as soon as weather conditions permit.

Asphalt bids were opened last week and Town Supervisor Peter Parsons told The Ledger they were “remarkably close to each other, only about a dollar a ton more than last year’s prices.”

Mr. Parsons said the stable price was a major positive factor, as asphalt is the most expensive component of road repaving. Lewisboro has 86 miles of asphalt roads, and officials plan to use several different recommended methods to repair them.

Cornell plan sets guidelines

The town’s long-term plans for road repaving are based largely on an assessment conducted by the Cornell Local Roads Program last summer. The bottom line of the detailed study was that Lewisboro needs to strike a balance between repairing roads that have badly deteriorated and prolonging the lifespan of roads that are still in relatively good condition.

Cornell Local Roads Program intern Megan Collins, an engineering student, worked closely with the Highway Department to take an inventory of the town’s paved roads, visually assess their condition, develop maintenance and rehabilitation alternatives to restore the quality of the roads, assign repair alternatives to each road in the network, prioritize repair and maintenance needs, develop a strategy to accomplish road quality goals, and generate a five-year report and budget to carry out repairs and maintenance of roads.

The plan calls for an annual expenditure of $480,000 per year. Between 2014 and 2018 the town could complete about 24 miles of road repairs.

Officials hailed the plan as thorough and definitive and said they would implement its recommendations when the time came this spring to begin work.

First steps

Mr. Parsons said the Highway Department would first address some town roads in relatively good condition by sealing cracks and “micro surfacing” them with a thin layer of asphalt.

“As Cornell indicated,” he said, “this is being done to significantly prolong the life of these roads without a major repair.”

The first roads slated for this type of repair include 2.4 miles of Todd Road beginning at Route 121, Avery Road, Cross Pond Road, Butternut Lane, and Harbor Place.

“I am determined to get these done to prevent further deterioration,” Mr. Parsons said.

Much more work and a higher expenditure of funds will be needed to get the town’s badly deteriorated roads back into good condition. Lack of maintenance over the past few years due to tight finances, coupled with harsh weather conditions, has left some town roads in very bad shape.

“Both Conant Valley Road and Kitchawan Road are scheduled for major repaving in 2014, from Route 123 to the Pound Ridge town line in each case,” Mr. Parsons said.

Mr. Parsons said the town’s repaving schedule for this spring had some degree of flexibility.

“Our highway superintendent, Peter Ripperger, has not yet driven over every single road in town, and some may have deteriorated so badly they may have to be moved up the repair list,” he said. “But we will stick as closely as possible to the Cornell plan from last summer.”

Drainage projects

In addition to the road repairs and repaving, Mr. Parsons said, there are four other projects, all involving improving drainage, on tap. Some of them will be paid for out of town funds, and Mr. Parsons said he hoped to get grant funding for the others.

“Both Kitchawan Road and Cornwall Court have had drainage problems for years, and I will propose new culverts, using town funds,” he said.

Schoolhouse Road also has longstanding drainage issues, and Mr. Parsons said the town has applied for East of Hudson watershed funds for assistance.

“The project will reduce phosphorous runoff, so our chances are good,” he said.

A new culvert is also needed on Elmwood Road near Wakeman Road, and the town has applied for a FEMA Hazard Mitigation grant to provide the majority of the funding for installation.

“We need all of these road repair and drainage projects done sooner rather than later,” Mr. Parsons said. “We will begin work as soon as weather and contractor availability permit.”

Financing

Mr. Parsons said that out of the $480,000 needed for 2014 road repairs, $100,000 had already been budgeted and at least another $100,000 would be forthcoming from the state’s CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) road repair financing program.

“We have agreed to borrow the remainder of the funds that are needed,” he said. “I also believe we should borrow for the drainage projects. All of this is in line with our plans when we passed the town’s 2014 budget. There are no surprises here.”

Mr. Parsons said all recommended repairs and financial outlays would require a vote from the Town Board before work could begin.

About author
Jane K. Dove is an independent journalist and publicist working in the tri-state area. A native of Chicago, she is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and honed her skills as a writer working as associate director of public affairs at New York Medical College. She has reported for the Ledger for three decades.

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© HAN Network. All rights reserved. Lewisboro Ledger, 16 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, CT 06877

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress