ROXBURY, NJ – A record number of township-owned roads would be paved this year under a plan introduced Tuesday for consideration by the Roxbury Mayor and Council.
If the plan is approved by the council, the township would spend almost $2.1 million to resurface about 8.5 miles of municipal roadways. Nearly $600,000 of that amount would come from grants.
“Last year was the most we’ve ever paved, at seven and a half miles,” said Roxbury Director of Public Works Rick Blood. “This year, we’re going to break the record.”
On top of that, the state plans to resurface about a mile of Route 46, officials said. They also said they are going to request that Morris County tackle a particularly rough section of West Dewey Avenue near the Wharton border.
‘Really Good News for the Public’
Roxbury’s ability to ramp-up its municipal road paving is possible, in large part, because it paid off all long-term debt in 2018, freeing up about $1 million per year that had been going to debt service. It is now on track to repave all 114 miles of township-owned roads every 21 years.
“A few years ago, we were on a 36-year cycle,” Blood noted. Between 2003 and 2014, the most miles repaved per year were about 4.5 miles in 2004. Only 1.8 miles were repaved in 2011 and only about two miles were resurfaced in 2014.
“You guys are doing a really good job,” said Roxbury Deputy Mayor Fred Hall at the meeting. “In the last two years, we did almost 16 miles. We’ve never done that. This is really good news for the public.”
On the list of township roads slated to get facelifts this year is a section of Main Street in Succasunna between Kenvil Avenue and Hillside Avenue. Also proposed for repaving is a piece of Eyland Avenue between Morningside Drive and Alcott Way and about 2,000 feet of Kings Highway.
Additionally, Blood’s 2020 paving list includes long sections of Condit Street, Forest Drive, Conkling Road, Mooney Road, Orben Drive and Morgan Drive.
Gas Company Chips In
Nearly 2.5 miles of the 8.5 miles of township road on the paving list are being repaved because they were recently torn up by New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) for gas main installation. The gas company is paying all but about $119,000 of that $558,000 repaving tab; the township will pay only for milling the roads prior to resurfacing, according to Blood.
He noted that NJNG is planning to install additional gas mains in 2021, meaning even more township roads will soon be repaved. “They plan to do all of Landing in the next four or five years,” he said.
The paving plan is part of the annual capital budget now being scrutinized by the council. Given comments made at Tuesday’s meeting, the members of the panel are likely to approve as much paving as proposed by Blood and Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd.
“Obviously we want to pave as many roads as possible,” said Hall.
Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee said he’d be willing to cut other proposed capital improvements that might not be vital if the money could go to more road paving. He said the township has “been playing catch-up” for too long in terms of fixing deteriorated roads.
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