TOWNSEND -- Townsend will use $30,000 of its state road-repair funding on developing a multi-year plan for how to repair and maintain its deteriorating roadways.
Selectmen approved the request from Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula last week to use a portion of Chapter 90 money to hire a firm to prepare the management plan.
"We had talked about a pavement-management plan where he (Kukkula) would bring a firm in to analyze the condition of every road mile in town and classify each of those segments according to the standard methodology that's used and come up with a long-term plan for how we can bring our roads up to standard and maintain them," Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said.
The plan would prioritize the sections of road that should be fixed and when, to efficiently allocate the town's limited funding for road repair.
According to Sheehan, neighboring towns such as Lunenburg have recently developed similar plans.
"I think it's a worthwhile process. It gives Ed something to drive his decisions annually as he's putting his road budgets together," Sheehan said.
He added that having a management plan also makes it clear to the public that there is a plan in place, even if the town can't afford to fix every road at once.
"I strongly support it. I think it's a worthwhile investment," Sheehan said, to which selectmen agreed.
Work on the plan may begin as soon as a firm is hired, and the plan could be complete within three months, Sheehan said. He described the plan as a living document that could be updated after completion.
Selectmen have discussed several times over the past year the problem of insufficient funding to improve the town's 86 miles of roads. Kukkula said last summer that the Chapter 90 allocation last year was enough to pave just one mile of road.
At a previous meeting, selectmen expressed support for a warrant article that would allocate an additional $150,000 to supplement road-repair funds. Traditionally, the town has relied solely on state funding to pay for repairs. The article will go before voters at annual Town Meeting on May 6.
Sheehan also announced the town would receive an additional $63,853 from the state to fix potholes. Portions of Mason Road and Shirley Road will be repaired with the money.
"We all know the effects this winter has had on our roadways. It's been the same throughout the state," Sheehan said.
The money must be spent by June 30, Sheehan said.
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