Brick Township has responsibility of about 780 lane miles of road, and many of them are in need of repaving. Choosing the proverbial “haves and have nots” when it comes to paving is a delicate task – one which often comes down to cost.
New Jersey’s notoriously high cost of road construction – about $125 per foot in projects in Brick in recent years – is a major reason why additional roads cannot be paved each year. Mayor John Ducey said it would cost $162 million to pave just the roads which have not received a fresh coat of asphalt in the last decade.
Between 2005 and 2015, 150 miles of road – about 300 lane miles – have been repaved, leaving 240 miles of Brick streets with whatever work was done in years past.
“Every time we announce a road project, people in town ask when their street is going to be done,” said Ducey. “We have to prioritize based on the recommendations of our engineers.”
Even when a road is in need of paving, it sometimes is not cost-feasible to repair it.
“A lot of times there are roads in very bad shape, but the roads around them are in good shape,” said Ducey. “It takes a lot of money for these companies to mobilize.”
Ducey went over the statistics on road repaving while announcing the 2016 capital budget, which includes a number of neighborhoods that will see repaving projects funded either later this year or in the future.
Neighborhoods on the list include portions of the Midstreams section, Riviera Beach, Tunes Brook, Cedarwood Park West and Molly Lane. Next year, projects will likely include more of Riviera Beach, Fairview, Birchwood Park and Ashland Street. The exact streets in the projects will be announced when bids are solicited over the course of the year.
Ducey said he mixes priorities such as road repaving with reducing the overall amount of debt the township is carrying. Since taking office, Ducey said he has not allowed the capital budget to go over $8.5 million per year, a decision that he said has reduced the township’s debt by $13.2 million by the end of 2015, and will reduce it by another $2.3 million this year.