Mayor’s Message: Gillespie talks road maintenance

By NICOLE GILLESPIE, Mayor of Moorestown 

In this month’s Mayor’s Message, Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie discusses how the township maintains and improves its roads while safeguarding taxpayers dollars.

Recently, I’ve had a number of conversations with Moorestown residents about the condition of our roads, so this seemed like a good opportunity to discuss how Moorestown handles road maintenance in general and share information on some upcoming projects.

First, did you know that not all roads in Moorestown are maintained by the township? Some, such as Church Street, are the responsibility of Burlington County. Others, such as Route 38, are maintained by the state. But for roads that are Moorestown’s responsibility, our engineers do an annual assessment and make a prioritized list of those in need of repair. Roads that show some deterioration, such as potholes or crumbling edges, are candidates for milling and repaving. Roads that show more serious deterioration, such as a crumbling base or major stormwater impediments, are candidates for complete reconstruction. In these cases, the township conducts a thorough evaluation of water and sewer lines beneath the roads so that any needed repairs or replacements can be done at the same time. 

Finally, when roads are dug up for water or sewer line work (such as the recent water main replacement on N. Church St.), the contractor is required to do a curb-to-curb overlay after repairs are completed. However, the contractors must wait at least 60 days after the work is completed before beginning the overlay, in order to allow the soils and other materials to settle, and for appropriate temperatures for working with asphalt. In all cases, there is a five-year moratorium on disturbing newly-paved roads in order to prevent wasteful rework.

Once the township has determined a list of needed road repairs for the year, the projects go out for bid. Because this is tax-payer funded work, we are required by law to award the project to the lowest responsible bidder. In June, 2019, council decided to reject all bids for the 2018 resurfacing projects (Resolution 117–2019) because we felt there wasn’t enough competition and the lowest bid was 15 percent higher than our engineers’ estimates. We decided instead to combine the 2018 and 2019 resurfacing projects, which should result in more bids and therefore more competitive pricing. You can view a full list of the roads included in both the 2018 and 2019 projects on the township website.

One example from the 2019 list is Golf View Drive. Part of this road is narrow, heavily travelled by both vehicles and pedestrians (especially to and from William Allen Middle School and Moorestown High School), and badly in need of repair. At the Feb. 10 meeting, council agreed to restrict a portion of the road to one-way traffic and add a pedestrian lane for safety. This project will be incorporated into the combined 2018/2019 resurfacing program, which will go out to bid later this month. We anticipate that construction on these projects will begin in late spring.

As always, I welcome residents’ feedback, questions and ideas and can be reached at mayor@moorestown.nj.us.