Created on Thursday, 19 July 2007 07:10
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2007 07:10
By Erin Post
A steep section of Moretown Mountain Road suffering from cracked and worn pavement is going to be repaved, hopefully by the fall.
After a site visit with an official from the state Agency of Transportation last week, the Moretown Select Board scrapped a previous plan to patch holes in the pavement on the section of road known as Village Hill. Instead, they opted for a more expensive and longer lasting solution: Shimming and overlaying both sides of the road.
The process requires crews to fill in holes and lay new pavement.
Although the three select board members who attended a July 12 meeting at Village Hill voted to pave only the side of the road heading uphill from the village, at a cost not to exceed $15,000, the board made a second motion July 16 to also include the downhill portion of the road. Total costs for the project are not to exceed $30,000.
Select board member Rae Washburn suggested that paving both sides of the road should stave off problems in the near future.
"By next year, it's going to be bad," Washburn said in reference to the section of road sloping downhill towards Route 100B, adding that the town's road foreman also argued that snow plowing could be more difficult if the two lanes are uneven.
CAPITAL RESERVE FUND
Plans call for some money to be shifted from other projects in the road budget to pay for the Village Hill work. The capital reserve fund may provide the balance, or the road department may run a deficit, select board members said.
At the July 12 meeting, select board chair Paula Mastroberardino questioned whether it would be wise to hold off paving the downhill part of the road until the next budget cycle, noting that this was an "unexpected" project in a year when the board had already allocated more money than usual for critical road work. And relying on the capital reserve fund too much may prove costly in the long term, she suggested.
URGED QUICK ACTION
But other select board members urged quick action.
"I think it comes down to the fact that it's a safety issue," said select board member Don Wexler. "We'll have to find the money, pay the $30,000, and move on."
He added that strategies to fix the road may be an item for discussion at pre-town meeting in March, since the paving work is expected to last about five years.
According to minutes of the July 12 site visit, the state AOT official suggested the town shim and overlay the hill for now, then apply for a Class II road grant to fund an engineering study regarding possible long-term fixes.
Immediate plans call for the town to solicit bids from several area paving companies. The goal is to finish the paving work before school starts in the fall.