Peterborough employee maps out plan to improve roads

  • Peterborough officials listen to a proposal to throw money at improving town roads during a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 30. Staff photo by Abby Kessler

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 6:11PM

The operations manager for Peterborough’s Department of Public Works presented a proposal to improve town roads during a joint select board and budget committee meeting on Tuesday night.

Seth Maclean said the town recently embarked on a pavement plan in conjunction with an engineering firm based out of Manchester. The process consisted of a group that assessed the pavement of all of the roads in town. Based on results, an algorithm spit out a rating of 70, on a scale where zero means there’s no pavement left and 100 represents freshly laid pavement.

“Not too bad,” Maclean said of the rating. “...We’ve got some tough spots, but in general, our more traveled roads are in good shape. A lot of spots are in good shape a lot of spots are in bad shape.”

Maclean said he would like to see that rating bumped up by about 10 points.

He said throwing some money at improving roads that are already in decent shape is beneficial because it extends the life of the pavement.

“You save a whole bunch of money on the back end if you keep your good roads, good,” Maclean said.

The current road maintenance budget sits at $450,000, which is allocated to the department every year. With that money, the town can hold the roads at its current rating if there aren’t any unanticipated funds.

Going forward, Maclean said he would like to dedicate $450,000 to working on good roads to extend their life. For the next 10 years, he proposed asking taxpayers for an additional $400,000 to fixing bad roads. This year, Maclean said they would only ask for about $236,000 in additional funds because the department has some state money tucked away for road repairs.

Some members of the budget committee expressed concerns about asking residents to pay an additional $400,000 year-after-year.

“I have a problem when we get to the warrant articles. They’re always worded nicely and they’re all great on face value, but I’m looking at a whole. Good roads would be great, a fixed fire truck would be great. Everything is great,” said Richard Clark, a budget committee member.

But as a whole, he said, the government has a way of growing. And it has to a little bit, he said. 

“I’m just trying to find somewhere in the middle,” Clark said. 

He proposed to bring the goal to improve its road rating from an 80 to a 75 and asking taxpayers for a little less money.