The Town of Bethlehem has established its 2013 road paving schedule, but not before taking care of a procedural step that has apparently been absent for a number of years.
The plan calls for the paving of 14.75 miles of road this season for the cost of $800,900. General road repairs are expected to cost about another $265,000. As per state highway law, an agreement was signed by Interim Highway Superintendent Erik Deyoe and the majority of the Town Board for the work to take place.
Supervisor John Clarkson said town officials had overlooked the signing of similar highway agreements for several years. He said he had only recently heard of the of the state law requiring the agreement after attending an Association of Towns meeting, and he wanted to immediately rectify the problem.
“It was something that happened in the distant past, but interest in doing it eventually evaporated,” he said.
Clarkson said former Superintendent of Highways Gregg Sagendorph, who retired in April, worked well with town boards during his 22 years on the job. However, he valued his flexibility.
“I think we should be consistent with state law,” Clarkson said. “By making this agreement, it’s a matter of public disclosure.”
Clarkson was not sure if the town would get in any trouble for not having the agreements done in the past if audited. He said it would have been “embarrassing, but not critical.”
Deyoe gave a presentation to the Town Board on Wednesday, June 26, detailing which roads would be paved and to what level. He said the determinations are made on a variety of factors, including frequency of the road’s use and the significance of defects found of the surface.
He stressed that the paving scheduled is based on more than just age, but also the amount of cracking, potholes and deformation. The plan is also coordinated with the Department of Public Works, the Planning Department and utility companies to make sure a project is not planned for the near future that would see the road torn up after it was paved. For this reason, the paving of some roads that are often complained about by residents have been delayed.
Deyoe compared the town’s paving structure as being much like going to the dentist. He said preventative maintenance is key, or the costs only increase greatly over time.
“The goal is improved health, without expensive reconstruction,” he said.
Deyoe said reconstruction of a road could cost up to 50 times the cost of repaving it. Costs for repaving also depend on the amount of road being paved and the type of material needed depending on the road’s use frequency and thickness.
“I think the presentation was very helpful,” said Clarkson. “Every year people have asked questions about paving. Some people think it’s too often, and now we (the board) can answer questions when they are asked.”
Some of the town’s larger repaving targets for this season include Kenwood Avenue, Wemple Road and Weisheit Road.