The town appears ready to move forward with a plan that would require residents pass an $11 million referendum for the repair and maintenance of local roads, and with little feedback on the project, town officials are hopeful that it means residents are willing to back the project.
Garry Brumback said the road improvements are an important part of the town’s infrastructure and working to repair and maintain the town’s 200 miles of road would help prevent long-term costs.
“Currently, the pavement management study determined that Southington’s roads are at index of 76, which is 5 percent lower than the average in the New England region,” Brumback said. “With the roads where they are, it will take $5.5 million per year to improve to an 81, the average, and $4.5 million per year just to keep the rating at a 76.”
The Board of Finance last week voted unanimously to approve the request for bonding following a public input session in which resident Art Cyr was the only one to speak publicly on the subject. Cyr asked questions but lent his support to the road improvement plan.
The town will use the pavement management system study completed earlier this year by , who evaluated the town’s 200 miles of road, as a guide to address the most needed repairs, as well as addressing roads where maintenance now could save the town from investing more heavily in full road reconstruction later, Brumback said.
See the complete pavement management study by viewing the PDF above or . For more information, be sure to visit the Southington Town website.
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John Leary, chairman of the Board of Finance, said he sees the lack of concern as a positive sign but also noted that the town has a lot of work ahead to make sure that residents fully understand the referendum and what officials are asking for.
“Roads are a critical priority. There are some roads that need to be completely repaved, while others just need to be crack sealed. This is a program designed to protect all assets, not just build roads and let them wear out,” he said.
The average lifespan of a road is about 20 to 25 years, according to the study completed, and Leary said the goal is to get roads to where there would be a fixed cost and about 5 percent could be addressed each year. He said declining state contributions and a lack of spending on roads in the past has left the town with a significant need to address.
Although there was little feedback, Board of Finance member Sandra Feld said she is encouraging residents to take an active role in the process by viewing the study and asking questions.
Brumback said he will continue to work to educate residents and is encouraging anyone with questions to stop by his office at or call (860) 276-6200.
“This is an extremely important step in helping ensure the town’s infrastructure is set up to be taken care of in the long-term,” Brumback said. “We will continue to educate the public right up until the refendum.”
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