Sticker pg 1 6-30-22

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Dufault Street
Huge patches, uneven surfaces and cracks that imitate a jigsaw puzzle. Linda Lemmon photos.

Sticker shock
--- even roads
By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
You’re watching the numbers spin at the gas station. Petroleum is out of sight.
Imagine now that you’re the highway superintendent and you’re watching petroleum prices — asphalt and other road-building materials — go “AWOL.”
Such is the dilemma facing Putnam Highway Superintendent Travis Sirrine.
Inflation, increasing prices is hitting everyone, he said. “We’ll do what we can.”
The state builds in an “escalation” clause into contracts “but we’re hitting that. We’re hitting that cap repeatedly,” he said.
Before the state put that escalation in, Sirrine said contractors were “losing their shirts.”
The Woodstock Avenue and Church Street sidewalk and paving projects slipped into high gear once school was out and the goal is to have both of them finished in time for the beginning of school. And the sidewalk redo on Grove Street, depending on the weather and the contractor who wins the bid, will probably be done “maybe spring.”
But “spiking” petroleum prices are causing Putnam and other towns to reprioritize, to rethink the paving/repair projects they have lined up.
Rather than repaving some streets that are doing OK, it’ll just be a matter of maintenance with crack sealing and chip sealing, Sirrine said. “Just preserve it.”
The prices per ton of asphalt products have already increased $12 to $15 per ton. “That’s driving our projects, what we can do,” Sirrine said.
Reprioritized the top street with a full overlay coming is Dufault Street. “That’s a definite,” he said. In addition, there is one street behind Woodstock Avenue, some in the north end, a section of Genevieve and Franklin, River Road, Mantup and the Rt. 21 corridor. “We are trying to get around town, get something done in every section of town,” he said.
The town originally had planned to do half of Kennedy Drive but that won’t happen. Sirrine said “we are looking at other techniques” to maintain it.
If the spikes continue, he said, “We’ll hold our money and let it come down.”

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