Repairs to a Wilton road may exceed funding limit, officials say

Photo of J.D. Freda
The northbound lane on Scribner Hill Road in Wilton was still closed by the early afternoon on June 10.

The northbound lane on Scribner Hill Road in Wilton was still closed by the early afternoon on June 10.

J.D. Freda / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — Repairs to a section of Scribner Hill Road could cost upwards of $325,000, or more than the selectmen are allowed to pull from their reserve fund, according to a very early estimate made by First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.

The work would be for a 250-foot section between Mountain Road and Route 7.

A northbound lane on Scribner Hill, just north of Blue Ridge Road, has been closed since early June due to a slope in the road noticed by the Department of Public Works. Temporary stop signs have been placed and the section has been turned into a one-way, alternating traffic lane.

“We do not have any idea what the cost will be for this repair, but we expect it to be an amount that we’re not going to be able to cover in our budget,” Vanderslice said. “There’s a reserve that is part of the town budget and the Board of Selectmen, without approval of the Board of Finance, can access 25 percent of that reserve.”

In this year’s budget, the reserve is upwards of $1.2 million.

“Let’s just round it up to $1.3 million, so we could tab 25 percent of that, but that might not be adequate,” Vanderslice said. “This is definitely a project that we think we will need to go into both our reserve and the Board of Finance-controlled reserve to fund.”

Vanderslice said she will let the finance board know, in case members are anticipating using the reserve funds elsewhere.

A plan to address the road is being completed as part of a $42,000 conceptual study done by Cardinal Engineering.

DPW Head Frank Smeriglio said the plan will “stabilize the slope, deal with the ledge and deal with the water” that he surmises could be trapped under the road. The depression in the road on the northbound lane has become worrisome as, unlike other stretches of the road, there is a steep slope just off the side of the road, just beyond the guardrail.

Geotechnical borings, or drilling into the road, will need to be done to determine the extent of the damages and the cause for the depression in the road.

But officials suspect the stretch of Scribner Hill may not be open for “a while.”

Smeriglio estimated that the study would last just over two months followed by another five months of design work before the project goes out to bid.

“So I don’t think that we’ll be able to get to doing the repair before the town meeting in 2023,” he said. “In two months, we’ll have an estimate for the design and an estimate for the repair, but I think we wouldn’t need the repair funds until the town meeting.”

The annual town meeting is typically held in the first week of May.