Westborough Public Works director updates selectmen on road repair

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By Jennifer L. Grybowski, Contributing Writer

Westborough – Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Chris Payant gave selectman an informational update on how the department manages the road program at its meeting Sept. 22.

“We try to base everything we do on some type of industry standard,” he said.

Payant said the idea is to maintain roads in the best ways possible, because it is less money and time to maintain them and keeps them lasting longer.

Last year, the town funded a consultant to conduct an assessment of all roads and found the majority of roads are generally in good condition. With that information, the DPW decided which roads they will work on. From there, they considered funding access, ongoing capital and state projects, road treatment and preparatory work required. They also consider pedestrian and bicycle traffic, accessibility requirements, and drainage issues.

At this time, Payant said, there are two main options for road treatment: re-paving and crack sealing. However, there are new techniques other than those two options that are being considered.

“We are looking for ways to efficiently use our money and extend the life of the roads,” he said.

Payant reported his department paved six roads this summer, but the list is 25 to 30 roads long.

However, the DPW is looking to take a more macro look at road projects, and create a strategic plan that includes two to three years of forecasted road improvement and addresses issues long term.

Payant said a strategic plan would include input from other departments and programs such as the Complete Streets program, the master plan, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, the Climate Action Task Force, the Public Safety Committee, the Boston Worcester Air Line Trolley (BWALT) Trail working group, and more.

“The DPW is represented in all of those [groups] in different forms, and I just want to assure residents we are aware of all these things and they are interconnected,” Payant said. “By being participants in all of those things, we can, in many cases, connect the dots and make sure we are not overlapping and are interconnected in a way that’s going to benefit everyone and all things associated with mobility, essentially.”

Putting different projects into “corridors,” Payant said, would allow his department to apply for grant funding from programs such as Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) and Complete Streets.

Payant also asked that people consider adopting a catch basin to help the DPW with keeping them clear.

For more information, or to view the presentation, visit the DPW website at www.town.westborough.ma.us/public-works or call 508-366-3070.