Darien road repaving loses some ground to high costs as town cuts back on spring projects

DARIEN — Town officials said they do not expect to be able to cover as much ground in the annual road repaving program as previous years because of high costs.

The Department of Public Works postponed the annual summer repaving in early August to between April and May 2023.

The original $1.2 million budget was designed to repave 6.4 miles of Darien roadways. However, that amount only covers 4.9 miles under current pricing, Department of Public Works Director Ed Gentile said.

Though prices have decreased since peaking in early August, Gentile said the final cost will still remain higher than normal.

Gentile confirmed the approximate mile and a half loss at Tuesday’s RTM public works committee meeting, though he added that he hopes to gain back three quarters of a mile as oil prices continue to drop.

By postponing the repaving by eight to nine months, the amount of small-scale road work needed is expected to increase as winter weather adds potholes, he said.

“Our public works department regularly monitors our roads, makes repairs as necessary and always looks to be financially prudent with our community’s tax dollars,” First Selectman Monica McNally said while addressing the postponement during the Board of Selectmen’s Aug. 22 meeting.

“If a resident sees a dangerous part of the road in need of repair, they should file a message on our website or call the public works department or call my office,” she said.

Whatever roads the department does not repave in spring may be pushed back to July and August under the 2024 fiscal year budget, officials said. Repaving is routinely scheduled during the summer to avoid disrupting school while classes are in session.

Paving is slated to begin in April, weather permitting, along Middlesex Road in front of Middlesex Middle School during spring break, Gentile said.