In the Belmont Patch article posted Tuesday on the 16 streets and roads the Belmont Office of Community Development will reconstruct this year, the leading criteria used by the town was a rating placed on each road in Belmont with a lower number coinsiding with the throughfares with the most need of attention.
For example, Cambridge Street – one of the lucky 16 choosen for repair in 2013 – was rated at 30, the lowest among the selected streets.
In one of his comments about the article, "amp" asked "Does anyone know if the list that describes the 'rating' of the town's roadways is available?"
So Belmont Patch asked Glenn Clancy, the Community Development director and the town's engineer, just how Belmont grades its roads:
"Each road was evaluated by our pavement consultant using a system that factors in pavement condition, different types of distresses, evidence of subbase condition and other issues," said Clancy, saying that all streets that rate below 60 are in need of repair.
And while his office hasn't evaluated the roads in the past eight years, "the roads are in such bad condition I can’t justify spending $20,000 again to find out what I already know," said Clancy.
See where your street rates by viewing screen shot of the town's list of streets – it needs to be updated as some roadways have been repaired – that rate below 60 on this website.
As for what roads his office selects, Clancy is contrained by budget limitations and the Department of Public Works as they replace the town's water mains.
"Required water main work must be done or the road will end up torn up within the next 10 years. That can’t happen!" said Clancy, so "there is very little flexibility year to year" on the roads that can be repaired.
While he tries to repair roads in the order they fall on the list, "since many of the bad roads also require water main replacement work, I have taken to clustering neighborhoods and determining an average rating per cluster and then working with the DPW to get the water work done in advance of road work," said Clancy.
As a result, some lower rated roads that aren’t part of a larger neighborhood cluster are being overlooked, said Clancy, pointing to Wellington Lane and Somerset Street as two of the lowest rated roads that have not been repaired.
"DPW and I agree that we need to find a way to get the water work done on those streets so they can be repaired," said Clancy, noting that the DPW has its own budget constraints that limits what they do.
There is some good news for most residents as the town's focus has moved from "major" roads – such as School, Washington, Common and Pleasant – and have moved to neighborhood streets.
And as the overall condition of Belmont roads – which have been compared unfavorably to Peruvian mountain trails – Clancy points out that town voters rejected a Proposition 2 1/2 override a decade ago that would have funded a 25-year plan that would have addressed all road construction and sidewalks.