By Rob Glidden
In the midst of voting for a president, a senator, a congressman and representatives in the state legislature, Southington residents will also decide whether the town spends $11 million on road and bridge improvements.
With less available funding from the state and federal government, it has become more difficult for the town to stay current on maintaining roads. If approved by voters on Election Day, nine million would be put towards the town’s most problematic roads, another million would be meant for roads in middling condition to prolong their usefulness, while another million would be used for work on the West Queen Street bridge.
“We recognize that this is a lot of money, but it is necessary for a sustainable maintenance effort,” said Town Manager Garry Brumback. “If it doesn’t pass, we have to go back to fixing what we can afford to fund on a yearly basis. The downside is that we’re able to do less and can only concentrate on the roads that get the most traffic.”
The roads are prioritized based on the results of the Pavement Management study conducted by Vannesse, Hagen and Bruslin, Inc (VHB) late last year. Some of the many roads slated for work include Hobart Street, Canal Street, Jude Lane, South Main Street, Berlin Avenue, Hart Street and Mt. Vernon Road.
A full list of all the roads involved can be found at the town’s website.
The Town Council voted unanimously to send the proposal to referendum during the summer, following a public hearing that drew only support for the plan. Brumback said that residents who had heard the details of the plan had given positive feedback.
Council Vice-Chairman Peter Romano compared the work to changing the oil in a car, describing it as a preventative measure that would save the town the costs of having to repair extensive damage in the future.
“I don’t take it lightly to ask residents to fund such a measure, but this is very important,” he said. “It’s the prudent thing to do. Waiting for the roads to fail is a much more expensive option.”
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.