Road Paving Back in Focus

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With the clock ticking on getting road paving underway this year, decisions may soon be made on a shock-and-awe plan for significant investments this year and next to quickly bring Weston’s road conditions up to par.

The plan, first introduced in January, has now been updated with a fresh roadways assessment by consulting engineers BETA and Public Works staff. It was presented (for discussion only) to the Board of Finance on Monday by DPW Director Larry Roberts and Selectman Tony Pesco.

Decisions are pending, but will have to be made soon. Paving must be done before cold weather arrives. Before that, bids must be solicited and a contractor selected. And, because decisions on this plan languished until the new roadways assessment was complete, budgets just approved for next fiscal year include not a nickel for paving.

The plan, funding

The plan calls for major repair or rehabilitation of 37 distressed roads — 18 this year, 19 next. Funding would come from taking on short-term debt, $4.5 million in bond anticipation notes this year, $2.5 million next.

Bond anticipation notes (BANs) are short-term securities that are paid off when larger long-term bonds are issued.

As written to include BANs, for the plan to come together in time to pave this year, the Board of Selectmen must vote a request to the Board of Finance, who must vote a proposition to submit to the public, who must vote in a Special Town Meeting to approve incurring debt. All this must be done by early July “at the latest,” said Town Administrator Karl Kilduff.

The plan presented by Mr. Roberts and Dr. Pesco anticipates that, going forward after the two-year surge, road conditions would be stabilized by a maintenance regime funded by annual capital budget allocations of about $800,000. That amount is less than the average annual spend for paving in the last several years, which generally involved repairs, not maintenance. Maintaining roads is significantly less expensive than repair and rehabilitation.

Mr. Roberts said work in recent years has been done on local roads, not connectors or cul de sacs and dead ends. Dr. Pesco said the updated BETA analysis shows good conditions on local roads where work was done, but ratings for town roads as a whole have declined since the last analysis, in 2020. This, he said, is because work wasn’t done on connectors and minor roads, 37 of which are now in serious need of milling and paving, partly because of the lack of maintenance.

Based on the latest BETA findings and visual inspections by Mr. Roberts and his DPW crews, the plan lists priority roads to be repaired this year and next. The split between the years is partly due to the time it takes crews to prepare roads for milling and paving.

2024 priorities

  1. Valley Forge Road (from Davis Hill Road to Newtown Turnpike)
  2. Old Farm Road
  3. Osborn Farm Road
  4. Old Hyde Road (from Lords Highway to the portion that is a dirt road)
  5. River Road (from Weston Road to Good Hill Road)
  6. Good Hill Road (from Weston Road to Steep Hill Road)
  7. Fanton Hill Road (Lyons Plain to Old Easton Tpk.)
  8. Birch Hill Road (from no. 110 to Godfrey Road East)
  9. Kramer Lane
  10. Davis Hill Road (Steep Hill Road to Colony Road)
  11. Weddington Lane
  12. Spruce Hill Road
  13. Samuelson Road
  14. Whippoorwill Lane
  15. School Road (straightaway near the WIS entrance)
  16. Pilgrim Lane
  17. Grey Fox Lane
  18. Grays Farm Road

2025 priorities

  1. Timber Mill Lane
  2. Aspetuck Hill Lane
  3. Martin Road
  4. Autumn Ridge Road
  5. Hyde Ridge Road
  6. Messex Lane
  7. Wood Hill Road
  8. Woods End Lane
  9. Cindy Lane
  10. Lilac Lane
  11. Hemlock Ridge Road
  12. Mountain View Drive
  13. Salem Road
  14. Laurel Lake East
  15. Richmond Hill Road
  16. Sachem Road
  17. Silver Ridge Common
  18. Twin Oak Lane
  19. Norfield Woods Road

In addition …

If all goes according to an existing plan — specific dates are not yet set — all of Lyons Plain Road will be rehabilitated this year, thanks to a $2.6 million state project for milling, paving, full reconstruction and leveling in some areas, minor widening in others, and drainage improvements.

In addition to work the Town intends for Valley Forge Road, over the next couple of years $5.3 million in state funds will be used for major reconstruction of two segments.

In the first phase, the road’s three-quarter-mile stretch between Kellogg Hill Road and Old Stage Coach Road will be rebuilt, including minor widening and broader shoulders, installation of retaining walls on some portions, replacement of guide rails, and drainage improvements. The second phase will involve similar work on the half-mile segment between Old Stage Coach Road and Bradley Road.

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