Public Works has begun its five-year special road restoration project, expected to cost $8,366,000, or $1.7 million a year, capitalized with a spring issuance of municipal bonds.

Wilton's network of roads, stretching about 127 miles, is a town asset valued between $80 million and $100 million, according to restoration projections. The cost of repaving is about $166,554 per mile.

It has become increasingly expensive to maintain road surfaces, especially as the cost of asphalt has risen 40% from 2009 to 2011, or $70 per ton to $90 per ton, while the town paving budget over the same period has grown only 8.3%, from $600,000 to $650,000.

There have also been unforeseen expenses, including the severe winter of 2010-2011, in which expansive stretches of roadways were cracked and damaged by icing, thawing and inclement weather.

A glaring concern is that only 60% of town roads have been repaved over the past 20 years, despite the fact that Wilton has estimated pavement only has a "natural life cycle" of 15 years, after which point extensive potholes and deterioration appear. This leaves 76 miles in precarious condition.

The new program aims to reverse the declining trend of work on town pavement, which slackened from 22.71 miles between 1992 and 1996, to 20.16 miles between 1997 and 2001, to 18.75 miles between 2002 and 2006, and finally to 14.11 miles between 2007 and 2011.

The new five-year plan, which began on July 1 with the 2013 fiscal year, aims to repave 9.99 miles this year alone, at a total cost of $1,684,200.

To prepare for the project, the Department of Public Works has divided Wilton into four districts, numbered clockwise from the northeast.

Roads to receive the most attention include 0.98 mile of work on Old Kings Highway (District 3) and 0.76 mile on Honey Hill Road (District 1) and Spectacle Lane (District 4).

The area to receive to most attention is District 2, which will have 3.06 miles repaved by the fiscal year's end, at a cost of $524,200.

In the final four years of the project it is expected crews will repave, respectively, 9.93 miles for $1,645,600; 10.2 miles for $1,705,000; 9.98 miles for $1,654,600; and 10.13 miles for $1,676,600.

For more information on the restoration project, visit wiltonct.org/budget/FY13.