Ridgefield to fix potholes, paving problems this year

RIDGEFIELD — As the town cleans up after the recent nor’easter, residents are wondering if local roadways will be further impacted once the snow begins to melt.

Existing potholes could be worsened by melting snow as the water seeps between the cracks, freezes and expands. This is particularly a problem on Peaceable Street, on the west side of town, resident Carl Forcheski said.

Because of a previous “cut and cover” paving job between High Ridge Avenue and Golf Lane, he said he must dodge potholes on the road.

“I have to resort to trying to find some semblance of smooth pavement outside the traditional wheel paths … which shouldn’t be happening,” he said. “These aren’t heavily traveled highways. This is a local road, and the surface deteriorates faster than it probably should.”

The paving was related to utility work that occurred at that section of Peaceable several years ago, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said. As a result of that job, contractors are now required to pave from curb to curb if the work requires the road to be trenched.

“Unfortunately that (utility) work was done after the street was paved (by the town),” Marconi added. “We’re well aware (of) the need for new paving, and that’s set for this spring.”

Peaceable Street will be re-milled and re-paved this spring, along with other town-owned roads, but highway department clerk Matthew Donovon said there’s no official list just yet.

The department will also address the following roadways this summer: Canterbury Lane, Fieldcrest Drive, Limestone Road, Bennetts Farm Road, Ned’s Mountain Road, Nutmeg Court, Spring Valley Road and Whipstick Road.

Peaceable Street is considered a “feeder road,” Marconi said, with traffic feeding in from Westmoreland Road, Peaceable Ridge Road and Route 35.

Since Forcheski lives on Revere Drive, also on the west side of town, he drives on Peaceable Street often. He said the road has been in “deplorable condition” for a long time. Because of this, he sometimes veers over the center line to avoid the “series” of potholes there.

The town previously had a problem with the durability of the asphalt it used to repair local roads, Marconi said, but over the past two years officials have seen an improvement. He noted the town purchases asphalt from companies like Tilcon and O&G Industries.

“The durability of the asphalt is based on how well the road drains, the mix of the asphalt … and the amount of traffic,” he added. “The higher the traffic volume, the greater the wear and tear.”

Forcheski also wondered if Peaceable and other roads had gone unattended because of a possible staffing shortage at the highway department, but Donovan said there is no such issue.

“I respect the town’s efforts to run a tight ship, (but) our roads are a total mess, and I know of a few sections on many roads where potholes have been there for years,” Forcheski added. “Besides the schools, where are our tax dollars going?”