(This story was first published in the June 12, 2014 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
By Michelle Fields , Standard Correspondent
The Village Trustees ended their meeting recently with a bus tour of potholes, potential potholes, and sign changes. The end result is about $65,000 in unbudgeted funds that will need to be spent to improve Route 4 and a few other spots after a tough winter.
“It’s more money than we have in the budget. I’d like to spend it and hope that we under spend somewhere else,” said Village Manager Phil Swanson.
As the bus drove down Route 4, Trustees noted the need for the repairs was clear as the vehicle rattled going over every rough spot in the road — and there was no avoiding them. Orange pylons in the road and “Severe Pot Hole” signs were installed to warn people of the dangers this winter even as the village insurance policy had to pay out on damage to some vehicles from the potholes.
“We didn’t anticipate any money for Route 4 work when we built the budget,” said Swanson as he outlined the required work.
The bus tour actually began off Route 4 at the base of College Hill Road. “This is the worst in the Village,” said Swanson pointing out the disintegrating pavement that runs from the top of the hill to Route 4. “If we don’t spend $4,000 now, we might spend $20,000 later.” The plan for College Hill is to do shim work and a two-coat overlay at an estimated cost of around $4,500.
From there the bus tour traveled to Vail Field and Woodstock Elementary School where the state will be replacing a number of older signs with new universal no parking and school zone signs. Swanson noted that the good news here is that these are all being paid for by the state of Vermont.
The big stop on the bus tour (after a rather bumpy ride to get there) was at Mac’s Market where the three different types of road repair work required could be seen on Route 4.
The “Shave and Pave” construction method will be used from Tribou Park to the Sunoco Station at Charles Street in the east bound lane and from the westerly village line to the Recreation Center Bridge. For this method, an eight-foot width of the road will be shaved down several inches then paved over. This work will be done by Twin State Paving at a cost of approximately $47,610.
The next method is delamination that is used for areas where the top layer has separated from the next layer, although a full pothole has not yet developed. In this method, a propane heater is used to heat up the asphalt, then it is roughed up and rolled so it bonds. This method costs approximately $2,500 a day and about four-days’ work is needed although Swanson noted that it will likely be discounted to $8,000.
“He shaved some off since he would like to have a big project in Vermont,” said Swanson of the out-of-state paving contractor. A demonstration spot done in February held up the rest of the winter, according to Swanson.
The third and final method will be accomplished by the village road crew to fix 23 full depth potholes on Route 4. Trustees observed several of these spots near Mac’s Market where Village crews have already cut into the pavement to outline where they will have to dig down to the base layer of concrete (at least eight inches), remove it and refill the hole. Calling this “brutal, grueling work,” Swanson noted that the crews will work on it as they have time over the summer and fall. The cost to fix these will be approximately $4000 in pavement materials as well as staff labor.
“For a while, until the colors blend, it is going to look like a checkerboard,” said Swanson of the roadway with its various areas of repair.
Trustee Eric Nesbitt inquired about the timing and road closures noting that maybe some work could be done in a slower time in September to help local businesses.
“None of this will require total closure. One lane will be open,” Swanson assured Trustees noting they can work on the timing.
Trustees agreed that the work must be done and expenses will be cut where possible. If they need to run a deficit budget, then taxes may have to be raised for the following year to cover these unexpected costs.