Road salt use melts available funding
By Tom Gresham
There will be fewer of the perennial road paving projects in Williston this summer because of a budget overrun created by an icy winter.
Public Works Director Neil Boyden said the department ran approximately $18,000 over budget on salt costs this past winter. Two large ice storms that created exceptionally slippery roads were the main culprits.
“That’s a lot to go over for just an $80,000 budget,” Boyden said.
In order to make up for the overrun, Boyden said, summer road maintenance projects will be cut back to keep the department’s budget in line.
Road paving projects that are likely to make the cut and be completed this construction season include Van Sicklen Road (Muddy Brook to South Brownell Road), Blair Park Road (North Meadow Road to Paul Street), Old Stage Road (Turtle Pond to Mountain View Road) and Chamberlin Lane (Isham Circle to Brennan Woods Drive).
A one-mile section of Mountain View Road between Ledgewood Drive and North Williston Road remains a question mark.
Boyden said the town hopes to start paving on Van Sicklen Road this week. The Selectboard recently approved a series of traffic-calming measures for the Williston side of the road, and Boyden said the paving would probably enable the calming work to be completed later this summer.
Boyden said paving projects that will likely not be completed this summer include the Town Hall parking lot and a stretch of Shunpike Road.
Others projects that will apparently be postponed until next construction season include Stirrup Circle and a connecting stretch on Morgan Parkway from Stirrup Circle to Vermont Route 2A. Both paving jobs will require a great deal of preparatory work before paving occurs, Boyden said.
Bike path progress
Boyden said the town has hopes to make progress on expanding the network of bike paths and sidewalks.
The main project for the summer will be new sidewalks in the Blair Park area. In June, Boyden expects a section of sidewalk to be constructed that runs along U.S. Route 2 from Taft Corners to Blair Park Road. A sidewalk spur will also be constructed from U.S. Route 2 along Helena Drive to Vermont Route 2A, connecting with the existing sidewalk.
Also, in the early stages of the summer, a stretch of sidewalk running a few hundred feet will be built on Old Stage Road near Adams Farm Market.
Boyden estimated it would likely be between a year and 18 months before construction could begin on a bike path planned for Mountain View Road. Boyden said the town continues to gather easements from property owners along the road. Town officials have also met with specialists to review the project’s impact on wetlands.
Some property owners along the bike path route have been reluctant to grant easements that will allow the path to cross their properties. “There’s only so much we can do if people aren’t willing to transfer an easement,” Boyden said.
The work on Mountain View Road could take longer than the 18-month estimate if some property owners do not grant easements and the town is forced to invoke imminent domain. In that case, the town would have to prove the necessity of the bike path and settle on compensation amounts for the property owners.