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Beginning on Thursday morning August 12 at 7:00 AM, the following streets will be subject to curb-to-curb road closures as they undergo a cost effective, infrastructure enhancing, micro paving:
Day 1: Benson Ave, Dean Street , Hoyer Avenue, Berkeley Avenue, and Terrace Drive.
Day 2: Lyon’s Place, Lockerby Lane, Bryant Place, and Bogert Place.
Enhancing public safety, revitalizing our parks infrastructure and revisiting our Annual Road Program were some of the core responsibilities of local government that I hoped to reprioritize when elected Mayor. Three months into my term, CoVid 19 commanded our full attention. Nevertheless, the Governing Body continued to pursue these broad goals through 2020.
Former Mayor Thomas D. Wanner had started the Annual Road Program to regularize road repair. Every road in Westwood was to be milled and paved over a recurring 15-year cycle. However, extensive and Borough-wide utility projects by PSEG and Suez Water, as well as competing budget priorities, made planning and coordination difficult. A full mill and pave - now at approximately $20.00 per yard - generates additional (and substantial) soft costs for bid prep, engineering, and supervision.
While the product cost has gone up, the quality and longevity of asphalt ingredients has actually degenerated over time, thus shortening the projected lifespan of newly paved roadways. Our roads are deteriorating more rapidly than our typical budget allocation might keep pace with. Our more heavily travelled roads need to be redone more frequently, and as a result the tertiary roads are dropped from the rotation, even though some desperately need borough attention (In last year’s 2020 Road Program we repaved a cul’ de sac that hadn’t been touched in 28 years.)
Balancing the diminishing returns of road longevity against rising labor/product costs meant we needed a lower cost way to extend the life of our roads so that mill and pave was not the only solution for every road, every year. Councilman Chris Montana diligently researched these alternatives, organized field trips to observe various processes, spoke with the work crews, and shared the results with the Governing Body which incorporated a “Micro Pave” component “into the 2021 Road Program.
Micro Pave is a two-step process. First potholes and larger cracks are repaired and filled with a polymer enhanced material. Then a liquid emulsion goes down curb to curb, in several passes, providing a uniform layer of protection that dries quickly. In just three hours the road is ready for vehicles. It cures rock hard in two weeks. Micro paving can extend the life of a roadway by 5 – 10 years depending on the condition of the road to which it is applied. Roads that are 7 years (plus or minus) into their mill and pave lifespan are prime candidates for this approach, extending the lifespan of the road and deferring the budget busting bunching together of costly mill and paves.
The Grim Reapers of aging roadways are the elements: water, snow, rain, sun/oxidation and friction. Water penetrates cracked asphalt and freeze /thaw cycles undermine the road surface. UV exposure and friction breaks it down further. Think about asphalt roof shingles: They wear out from the same environmental stresses, and no one is driving on our roofs (except maybe Santa Claus - just once a year.)
The micro paved layer protects the mill and pave base from the brunt of these elements. It is a fraction of the cost of a full mill and pave. A freshly milled and paved road consigned to an untreated life cycle can become an unsightly, rocky road (depending on usage) in less than 10 years. Micro paving the right roads - at the right time – can push the interval for their next mill and pave out so that a 15-year replacement schedule is attainable. And the application can be repeated, if need be, to extend the duration even further.
That means more smoother, aesthetically pleasing roadways in Westwood, for a greater period – while limiting the full mill and pave expense in any budget cycle to the roads that actually require it. Incorporating a Micro-pave element to our annual road program has the potential to get us back on track towards a reliable, fiscally responsible full road replacement cycle.
The Borough has worked with Asphalt Paving Systems to identify the roads listed above as suitable to test this program. The prep work on these streets is just about complete. Please be patient and keep vehicles off the new surface, as directed by Westwood PD.
A few hours of inconvenience will deliver many additional years of road life, and the most pleasing and effective results.