Letter: Council chair addresses Southington road repairs

To the editor:

For the past several years, the Southington Town Council and our Management Team have been transforming the delivery of services to our tax payers. Our goal is to provide the best quality services for a responsible and reasonable cost.

One of the largest costs in our community is maintaining the infrastructure of our roads and bridges. The large cost of roads is why the Town Council initiated a pavement management system to grade the quality of our roads. Our grading system is used by our engineers as a tool to determine which roads get a maintenance program and which roads get rebuilt.

When the voters approved two consecutive referenda totaling $22 million, they sent a clear message to “take care of our roads”. As many have witnessed this past year, the massive road projects have begun.

Last year, we added a new maintenance program aimed at giving longevity to our existing roads and saving the tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars. As with items on one’s own home, if they aren’t maintained, they will not last. The first maintenance product used last year was Crack Sealing and the second was Chip Sealing.

With the process being less than one year old, we are gathering results and feedback after the process has lived through its first winter. The results are definitely a mixed bag of opinions encompassing both ends of the spectrum.

This Town Council is committed to seeking out new and improved ways to deliver high quality services at a reasonable cost. We are extremely thankful for all of the feedback, positive and negative, on our new program. This past month both management and leadership on the Council have been meeting to review the processes with the goal of improving them this coming spring. We are meeting with our own engineers, asphalt advisers and our contractors.

In the coming weeks we will be sharing our (residents) feedback about the chip seal process with the contractors, to see if the process can be improved. In the event that we are not satisfied that it can be improved, we have the ability to seek other products that will satisfy our goal of maintaining our roads to give them longevity. The other processes available are Scrub Sealing, Micro-surfacing, Ultra-Thin Overlay (Nova Chip) and Slurry Sealing. Each process has its pros and cons.

As the concept of road maintenance, on a large scale, is new, there will be adjustments based on what our citizens can support. We continue to ask our residents for their feedback as many of them are on the front lines with newly maintained roads.

We will use that feedback and our experts, to constantly improve the process. If that means replacing one maintenance process for another, then we can do that. Please know that we hear you, good and bad, and we are working to make our program the best that it can be, while being prudent with your money.

Thank you.

Michael A. Riccio, Chairman Southington Town Council

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