BERLIN — The residents of Washington Street could have to wait months or even years to see the scheduled road repairs, but many of those who turned out for this week’s council meeting on the matter said they didn’t have a problem with an indefinite delay. One resident who was not in favor of the delay told the council that his wife had lived on that block for more than 60 years and it had never been paved.
The Town council was asked to consider whether to risk a cost overrun that could be as much as $20,000 above the amount held in contingency for the project or to wait until next budget season to plan and fix the road.
Councilwoman Lisa Hall objected to the paving, saying that there was no sense in making it pretty if the road might have to eventually be torn up due to infrastructure or stormwater management concerns.
“I feel like if we’re going to spend this money and make it all pretty, what about replacing the infrastructure below?” she said.
The town has recently engaged a company, using a grant, to study which areas of town might be susceptible to green rather than gray stormwater solutions. That is, which streets and sections will have to use the expensive recommendations made by the Army Corps of Engineers to solve stormwater flooding problems and which might be solved by less invasive means.
Hall also asked the council consider whether the water and sewer pipes were in good enough condition that repairs wouldn’t needed in the near future.
Water Resources manager Jane Kreiter was charged with checking the plumbing again and giving the council an assessment of their conditions.
Should the sewer pipes be deemed not stable in the long term, the town would consider bonding the project to replace the water and sewer pipes, a process that could take 10 years.
The council elected to table the matter until Kreiter reports her findings.