Pavement plan aims to improve Sutton road rating
By Robert Fucci
Sutton – Highway Superintendent Matt Stencel is recommending the town complete numerous sealing projects for town roads rather than take on a huge repaving project to increase the overall Road Surface Rating.
While speaking to the Board of Selectmen at the Feb. 2 meeting, Stencel said the town’s current rating of 69.49 sits below the overall average of 75 throughout the Commonwealth. The rating was issued after a consulting company surveyed and graded all of the town’s roads.
Completing numerous sealing projects would help in improving the rating, he said.
“It’s cheaper to crack seal a road than rebuild it,” Stencel said, adding a full rebuild of a road could cost upward of $15 million. “There’s a bunch of high-cost repairs at the top [of our list]. Almost half of those we can get done for short money by crack sealing. It would be a good use of our money, and it will stay good for a number of years. Hopefully, it will bring the rating up over 71, 72 … just as long as we go in the right direction.”
Sutton has 93.5 miles of roads. The highway department maintains every mile, plus all of the town’s catch basins, sidewalks and more.
Vice Chair John Hebert, a former employee of the Highway Department, praised Stencel’s efforts.
“I think the Highway Department is certainly advanced,” he said. “You have a lot of responsibilities and it shows out there. It’s nice to see West Sutton Road and others in town with asphalt. We’ve seen you chipping in on other projects, and we thank you.”
When asked what the Department’s most pressing issue is, Stencel said replacing old trucks.
“[If money were no object] we’d replace the front-line sanders and dump trucks,” he said. “The most important thing we do [is treat the roads]. In snowstorms, everything is out, and sometimes there’s nothing left in the garage. We’ve had good luck with it.”
Sutton currently has 12 pieces of equipment for snowstorms, and hires up to eight private trucks, depending on the storm. To treat the roads completely, it’s abouta2½job.
“That’s pretty good coverage for us,” Stencel said. “There’s a lot of miles of road, and some are not easy to get to.”
The next survey of the town’s roads is scheduled for the fall.