Drivers may have noticed the smoother traveling along Elm Street, Purdy Hill and Turkey Roost roads over the past two years. This season, Highway Department crews milled and paved Maplewood and Woodlawn roads, and chip sealed East Village Road and Webb Circle.
The visual improvement also translates into something not evident to the naked eye: A higher Pavement Condition Index (PCI) rating. Public Works Dir. Douglas Arndt said it rose from 64 in August of 2010 to 66 — and that's not counting the most recent roadwork.
"I'm pleased to report that this 66 rating will go even higher," Arndt told the Town Council at its meeting Monday night.
In response to Monroe's crumbling road system, Roadway Management Inc. was hired to assist the Public Works Department in coming up with a $26 million plan for upgrades, maintenance and repairs.
In the first 10 years of Monroe's road improvement plan $20 million will be spent ($2 million a year) and then, when town roads realize significant upgrades Arndt said $600,000 will be spent annually for the next 10 years to maintain it.
If all goes according to plan, Arndt said Monroe's roads will have a PCI of 75 by the year 2020. If the roadway improvement plan was not funded, Arndt said it would fall to a rating of 56.
"It costs substantial money to get the road base, but the good news is these roads should last a good 15, 20 years," Arndt said.
The town has saved $150,000 on the paving of Woodlawn and Maplewood roads this year. Aquarion Water Co. worked on the water lines and had agreed to split the paving costs with the town, according to Arndt.
Public Works has $80,000 left for roads in its current budget and $700,000 in the 2012-13 operating budget. Another $1.3 million in bonding is expected.
Last year, Arndt said the town concentrated on upgrading its main roads and he expects to have the same focus this season.
There is a list of roads he wants to get to, however, Arndt said he will not finalize a priority list until later in the season.
"When will your first five roads be released to the public," Town Councilman Tony Unger asked.
"There's a big focus on Judd Road, Moose Hill and Wheeler Road, but it depends on where the funding is," Arndt said. "I can't commit to anything until we have the $1.3 million."