Highway Maintenance

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Highway maintenance ensures that the 326 lane miles of town roads are kept in safe working order through three different levels of service:  routine maintenance, preventative maintenance, and capital improvements. The time frame and the level of maintenance of a road are determined through a rating process utilizing a system provided by the Cornell Local Roads Program.

Routine maintenance is defined as the everyday upkeep of the town roads and Rights of Way.  This includes:

  • Street sweeping
  • Tree trimming on town land and Right of Ways
  • Roadside pickup of litter
  • Dead animal pickup
  • Right of way mowing
  • Road striping
  • Roadside ditching
  • Pothole patching
  • Sign maintenance
  • Drainage inlet repair

Preventative maintenance is defined as the process of treating the road surface to protect the road from oxidation and water infiltration which will lead to degradation.  Preventative maintenance includes:

Crack Filling             

  • Crack filling involves applying hot liquid asphalt to the cracks in the road to help prevent water from seeping into the road.

Surface Treatments

  • These treatments are applied when a road is typically 7 to 10 years old.  Surface treating seals the road surface from water seeping into the road, adds traction, and a new wear surface.
  • Slurry Seal is a treatment that is used to seal the road surface.  This process, which is compared to an industrial driveway sealer, applies latex asphalt and small stones to the road surface.  Slurry Seal is used primarily on residential roads.
  • Chip Seal is a treatment that also seals the road surface.  This process applies hot liquid asphalt to the road surface and then a layer of small stones which sticks to the hot liquid asphalt.  This process is used primarily on rural roads and collector roads.

Capital improvements are defined as the rehabilitation of an entire road structure and appurtenances.  This includes:

  • Concrete gutter replacement
  • Catch basin and storm pipe replacement
  • Milling of asphalt surface
  • Asphalt recycling
  • Asphalt placement

Roads that are scheduled for capital improvements are typically 20 or more years old and have had numerous surface treatments applied to them.  The rehabilitation process includes repair or replacement of most of the roadway infrastructure to bring the road back to near new standards.  Infrastructure repairs begin with sewer pipe inspections using remote television cameras to inspect the sanitary and storm sewers.  Repairs to these systems usually start the year before the actual road work begins.  Catch basins and connecting pipes are also replaced at this time.  

When the road work begins, some, or all of the concrete gutters are replaced.  This process can take up to 5 weeks depending on the amount of gutters that are replaced.  The next step is to remove, or mill, the surface of the road making room for the new asphalt layer.  This process takes place very quickly, usually a day or two.  Once the milling is complete, any subsurface base repairs are made and the milled surface is prepared for the new asphalt.  

The final step is to replace the asphalt that was removed during the milling phase.  This paving phase will either be a one or two step process if the original layers of asphalt are in good condition, the top layer of asphalt is placed and the work is complete.  If the original layers of asphalt have deteriorated beyond repair, a recycled layer of asphalt will be placed using the old asphalt mixed with new stone and liquid asphalt.  This layer is allowed to cure for about two weeks.  The top asphalt layer is the final course used in either paving phase.