Town engineers began an assessment of the condition of Rocky Hill's streets in early 2011 as a precursor to a comprehensive roads repair project, according to a report from Town Manager Barbara Gilbert at Monday's Council meeting.
Gilbert related a recent conversation she had with a resident to depict the conditions of some of the town's roads.
"Someone being funny asked me if we were gonna come and mow their street," she said, in reference to grass tufts springing up through cracked pavement, a common problem on some town streets.
Gilbert cited Fern St., Gorman Rd., Webber Summit, Summit Road, and the Old Main St. Bridge as areas in particular need of repair.
While the topic of referendum was broached, Gilbert maintained that construction could be paid for out of the town's capital improvements budget if the project is phased over two years. The last roads referendum in Rocky Hill was in the late 1990s, according to Gilbert.
The Manager reported other cost-saving measures that are being employed to shield taxpayers from the burden of the project. The town has obtained a crack-sealing machine "which extends the life of the roads," Gilbert explains, although she admits, "it isn't the most attractive" fix.
Councillor Joe Kochanek asked if the road repair budget would be specific to individual streets or "broad brush."
Gilbert replied that certain streets, including those she listed, would be designated as priority items. The monies allocated from the capital improvements budget would go into a general road maintenance fund, due to the need for flexibility in contingency planning. Road-specific allocations would prevent the town from redirecting funds as needed to streets that are in sudden demand of repair after severe weather or a natural disaster.
When a critical event occurs "we have to do what we have to do," Gilbert summarized.
The town appears to be embracing that mentality in its comprehensive approach to maintaining the roads as well. The announcement of the impending repair project follows closely after the Council's endorsement of the Route 3 traffic study it commissioned. The town appears to be trying to signal to residents that it is tackling Rocky Hill's road problems.