Taylor Street residents await road repairs
Published 3:46 pm, Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Steve Larson strives to walk down his New Milford street every day as part of his rehabilitation from double-fusion spine surgery in May.
He relies on his walker, but now is forced to plan his jaunts along Taylor Street so his wife, Lori, can accompany him.
That's because he said the ruts and rubble in the road make it dangerous for him to go on his own.
"Two times I went down the street and almost pitched over," Mr. Larson said.
On a recent week day, Mr. Larson, the father of an 8-year-old boy, said he made slow progress down the residential street because every couple of steps, his walker would catch in one of the ridges along the road.
In one spot near a neighbor's driveway, Mr. Larson reported he was forced to move to the center of the road because the crumbling asphalt was such he couldn't maneuver his walker.
"It's been a nightmare," he said.
Taylor Street is a short residential road near the village center paved to just past Mr. Larson's home and then becomes a private, dirt and gravel road.
The harsh winter has compounded the road's deterioration to the extent that neighborhood children can't ride their bicycles on it and the multiple potholes wreak havoc on homeowners' vehicles, according to Mr. Larson and his neighbors.
"It's just unsafe," said Mr. Larson's wife, Lori, of the street on which they have lived since 2002.
Public Works director Michael Zarba is sympathetic to the Larsons' plight.
He doesn't have an immediate remedy, but Mr. Zarba said Taylor Street is on the list for repaving next spring.
The department maintenance budget for 2011-12 is $750,000 and a large chunk of those dollars will be used to repair some 3.5 miles of roads throughout town, Mr. Zarba said.
As for priorities, the Public Works director acknowledged the high-traffic routes are a priority.
Each year he also sets aside a portion of dollars to work on streets in residential neighborhoods because "those are most important to our taxpayers."
Every year, Mr. Zarba said, the department is charged with striking a balance between money, time and need.
Throw in unexpectedly harsh weather that not only brought unprecedented snow, but spring floods, said Mr. Zarba, and the need for road repairs significantly increases.
Mr. Larson said he recognizes a residential side street is not as high a priority as one of the town's more heavily traveled roads, but "something's got to happen.''
"We're paying taxes like everyone else,'' he said.