Salem electors approve borrowing $3 million for roads

In his photo of a road condition map presented at the Salem annual town  meeting , red and yellow coded roads are in the worst condition.

In his photo of a road condition map presented at the Salem annual town meeting , red and yellow coded roads are in the worst condition.

Salem electors at the annual meeting Tuesday night approved borrowing $3 million to jump start road improvements over the next two years.

At annual town meetings electors are able to vote directly and decide certain issues, such as borrowing. The road borrowing motion passed 58 yes to 14 no.

Town officials made a case for the borrowing to try to play catch up on town roads that have seen diminished funds allocated for paving etc. in recent budgets.

The town has about 69 miles of roads that it maintains, said town Chairman Diann Tesar. About 46 miles of that total is rated from 1 to 5 on  scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best condition and 1 being the worst.

The $3 million will pay for reconstruction of about 10 miles of road, said Len Roecker, the town’s engineer.

Town officials said the plan will be to spend about $1.5 million this year and $1.5 million next year. After that, the town hopes to be able to budget about $500,000 a year for road projects. That would be at least double of what has been budgeted in any one year for the last four years. Ten years of that level of spending could bring the average town road condition up to a 5 in 10 years, Roecker said.

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