With the passage of the New York State budget late last month came an increase in funding for Lewisboro’s dilapidated roads through the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs).
The funds have increased from $119,136 to 150,571, slightly more than a 26% increase in funding from the previous year.
Unfortunately, the money is just a drop in the bucket for the town Highway Department, Highway Superintendent Peter Ripperger said.
With the price of blacktopping going up and the average cost to pave a mile of road more than $150,000, the small amount of money will either be spread out across the town roads or possibly focused on a single road needing significant repair, he said.
On top of that, blacktop is not lasting as long as it used to, Mr. Ripperger said. New advancements in blacktop have changed the composition to be more environmentally safe but also less durable. Citing previous estimates, he said roughly 25% of the town’s roads are in “dire” need of repair.
Town Supervisor Peter Parsons has previously noted that since a major repaving project in 2007-08, which repaved 23 miles of roads, only two miles of roads have been repaved.
The Highway Department at one time had an estimated fund of $300,000 for yearly road maintenance, which provided for the repair of a few miles of roads every year to keep up with the rate of deterioration. Currently those funds hover around $50,000, Mr. Ripperger said — “pothole money.” And without an injection of significant funds, even a return to the yearly fund levels would not be enough to catch up, he said.
Mr. Ripperger is optimistic, though, that this summer, with the help of interns from the Cornell Local Roads Program, the town will conduct a full assessment of all town roads and formulate a detailed strategy to repair and maintain them.