Safety Key Factor in Road Repairs
There is a process the township uses to determine what roads to repair.
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Every year, when it's time to build the township's budget, part of what's included is a discussion over what roads needs to be repaired or fixed—and that discussion does not come without consideration of resident concerns.
There are always concerns over what roads need to be, and should be, repaired in the township. In the past, such suggestions from residents have included Emerald Trail, Van Holten Road, Bridgewater Avenue, Pine Street and Brookside Drive.
But, according to township administrator James Naples, that is only one piece of the puzzle.
This year alone, Naples said, the township has increased its capital funds by 50 percent for road repairs and drainage.
"In the big picture, it is one of Mayor Dan Hayes' goals to improve infrastructure," he said. "The mayor understands the importance of maintaining infrastructure and ease of access."
According to Naples, each year the public works department and township engineer goes around the township to inspect the roads.
"We look at all, but we focus on those where we have received concerns," he said. "We rank the roads from threat to public safety to aesthetic."
Public safety is the most important, Naples said, while aesthetic concerns make a road the least important.
"In the budget, we get an estimate of the costs of repairs," he said. "We look at what we have, and try to address that."
"We focus on feeder roads, then internal neighborhood roads," he added.
Naples said the township also looks into the use of chip overlay to make repairs to roads. That method, he said, is less expensive to use than fully repairing the road.
Chip seal and microsurfacing work, Naples said, is a less expensive way of maintaining a road, and often gives it another 10 years before it needs to be repaired again.
"The finished road is a smooth surface," he said.
For example, Naples said, one cul de sac off Meadow Road of about 10 to 20 homes was repaired with the chip overlay method.
"The road was cracking, but it was still travelable," he said. "If we let the road deteriorate, in 10 years we would have to rebuild it."
That's how the township decides whether to use the chip overlay or the full repair method, Naples said. It depends on what work is needed on the road, and what would extend the life of it in the best possible way.
"The roads with chip seal are usually neighborhood ones," he said. "That extends the life of the roads."
Naples said the township determines drainage repair in that same way, looking at complaints from residents and then the areas needing the most work.
"If there is water impacting the houses, or deteriorating the yard, [that is high priority]," he said. "If it backs up and floods not regularly, it is lesser priority."
Naples said the township has to compare the roads to determine where is the worst.
For example, Naples said, there have been complaints about Leghorn Avenue. When its condition is compared to others surrounding it, he said, it is not in great shape.
"It is bumpy, but passable," he said.
But in comparing that road to Vosseller Avenue, which is being repaired this year, Naples said the latter can be dangerous with the many potholes, twisting roads and the fact that it is very well-traveled.
"The funds go there because of commuters," he said.
"But people on Leghorn complained about the road this year," he added. "We have to phase the road because of the length of it."
That road, Naples said, is probably a two- to three-year project, much like the work done on Oak Street, for which phase three was completed earlier this year.
"The number of roads depend on the length of the road, severity, mill and overlay, retaining walls and other characteristics," he said. "And we try rotating around the township."