A Middletown-based engineering firm has completed their assessment of Southington roads and with the physical work completed, officials said it’s time to start developing a plan to address problem areas and work towards saving the town money.
Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback said Vanasse Hangen Bristlin, Inc., has completed their evaluation of the towns 235 miles of road, giving each street a number between 0-100 with 100 representing a brand new road.
“The good news is we are in better shape than we originally thought. Of the roads we have, about 35 miles are considered in bad shape and about 40 miles are about to be labeled in a tough position, but well over half are better than we thought,” Brumback said.
The next step, a more difficult task, is determining those that can be addressed now before they reach a much more expensive repair state, he said.
Cheryl Lounsbury said last week that she is hopeful with the new information the town will be able to take action during the current budget process to begin planning for road repairs. If included in the budget process, the town could begin work as early as July on some roads.
“There are some towns that do not have the benefit of this information. It gives us a flexibility and opportunity to begin addressing needs now,” she said.
Brumback cautions, however, that the worst shape roads won’t necessarily be those first addressed. Instead, he said the town will look at the most cost effective way to proceed and determine the plan based on the best way to prevent unnecessary future costs.
Although the is now complete, some council members are asking that the town make sure it is prepared to move forward without having to hire a consultant again.
Some on the council were skeptical about the necessity of a pavement assessment system. Dawn Miceli, who questioned the need for the assessment earlier this year, said she believes the $55,000 could have better been used directly on road repairs.
The program was widely supported by Republican councilors, however, and Public Works Committee Chairman Peter Romano said with the new plan in place, he believes the town will save thousands.
Council minority leader Christopher Palmieri said although it’s good to have a plan in place, town staff still need to focus on learning how to properly identify road re-pavement needs around town in order to keep the list updated without future assessment costs to the town.
“When we (first) talked hiring consultant, we talked about it being a one-time consultant,” Palmieri said. “I just want to make sure we are now taking steps toward plans to make sure town staff are prepared to maintain data base.”