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Thursday, April 19 News

DPW seeking $4.5 million in bonds for road work

The New Canaan Department of Public Works is seeking approval for $4.5 million in bonding for road maintenance.

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The money, which would be used over the next two years, would go toward the department's pavement management program to rebuild and rehabilitate town roads.

The Board of Finance approved the resolution Feb. 11 and recommended it to the Town Council, which was scheduled to take action Wednesday, Feb. 26 -- after press time.

Assistant Director of Public Works Tiger Mann said seeking funding for road projects early would allow the department to find better rates and save money.

In the past, the department would repave an entire road and return to it about 20 years later to reconstruct it, Mann said. With a new proactive approach, the town would treat the roads as needed. He said this method helps save money and keep the roads in good condition.

"We put forward a pavement presentation plan, which basically, we look at the entire system and we try to apply the money to the right treatment to the right road at the right time," Mann said. "So that might be that we're going to reconstruct one road, it might be that we're going to mill and overlay one road (or) it might be that we're just going to crack seal a road."

Mann said roads are one of the greatest assets in town. "One place where people want to see their tax money spent is on a good road," he said.

In 2003, New Canaan received a grade of 77 out of 100 for the quality of its roads. The Pavement Condition Index is now at 82.7, according to Mann's presentation to the town.

"When it stays in the 80s, or 75 and above, the phone doesn't ring," he said. "Once it touches 75 and then down, the phone starts to ring and we get petitions. People are unhappy."

The average depreciation of a road every year is of about 2 percent, Mann said.

New Canaan has nearly 123 miles of roads and 287 roads in total, according to the presentation.

Mann said the standard time before a full reconstruction is needed used to be 20 years, but it's now usually 15 years. With the proactive approach, roads wouldn't need such major work for more than 20 years. "That is a very costly repair," Mann said.

The department's ultimate goal, Mann said, is to keep good roads in good conditions.

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson

Nelson Oliveira|Education/general assignment reporter