Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quality of Life in Plainfield, Part 3: Roads

Check out East 9th St between Watchung and Park. Don't you get a good feeling from the smoothly paved surface, the new concrete driveway aprons and the new bluestone curbs? (or are you thinking get a life Councilman). Now take a look at Central St, Oak Lane or the various intersections of Stirling. Potholes, cracks, broken curbs. How did they get this way and what is Plainfield going to do about it.

Well I have good news and bad news. First the bad. We have been neglecting our roads for several decades with no plan for repaving or maintenance other than an annual pothole filling program in the spring. And did you notice that the patches never lasted long anyway.

Here's the good news. Three years ago, the City Council came up with a 15 year repaving plan. I am proud to have been a member of that Council and kudos to Malcolm Dunn, who was the first to advocate the plan. The plan would require an annual bond to cover the costs. It was (and is) very expensive because many of our roads, through neglect, now need complete reconstruction instead of the much less expensive milling and paving. We are a year and a half into that paving program. Here's some bad news. There have been delays in the bond financing which have slowed but not stopped the program. Here's the good. We should be back on track this fall.

More good. The City Council called for a road maintenance program. This means filling cracks, intersection milling and paving and hot patching potholes instead of cold patching. We just purchased the equipment to do this ourselves. This will mean that major problems will be fixed while you are waiting for your street to come up on the repaving list. It will also extend the useful life of our roads, saving taxpayers millions of dollars going forward.

That may be more than you ever wanted to know about Plainfield's roads. Unless you live on Central St or Oak Lane.

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