By NEIL ZAWICKI
The selectboard on Monday voted to adopt a new set of standards from the Vermont Agency of Transportation, designed to mitigate erosion and runoff to state waterways.
Adopting the new standards lets the town qualify for an additional 10 percent in state funding through town highway grants, but it also requires the town to invest in some upgrades to bring two sections of road up to compliance with the new standards. The old set of standards expired July 31.
Specifically, Davenau Road is out of compliance with the new standard. Davenau is one of four Class 4 roads in Milton, which means it contains features that can lead to erosion around gullies and culverts, which can lead to roadway deterioration and introduce pollution to state waterways. These are called hydrologically connected roadways.
Public Works director David Allerton said only two of the 10 sections of Daveneau Road require the upgrades. He made the case that the upgrades to earn the grant qualification would be nominal.
“We’re doing most of this stuff anyway,” he said. “If we want to get the extra money from VTrans, we’re going to have to sign on to doing the work on these roads.”
Board chair Darren Adams wondered if voting to adopt the new standard would mean the town would be forced to deal with other roads in the future.
“Or is this a chance to rid ourselves of these Class 4 roads that exist only in a vault?” he asked.
Allerton said there was a potential loss of $35,000 in grants if they do not participate in the Class 4 upgrade.
“Is it going to cost $35,000 to fix the road?” asked board member Chris Taylor, but no one answered.
Town manager Don Turner supported Allerton’s view, saying he believes the upgrades are necessary.
“We all know the condition of our infrastructure out there,” he said. “From my perspective I think that we should accept these.”
Turner also advised the board the town could opt out of the new standard next year.
“I don’t see an immediate negative impact to adopting this this year,” he said.
In the end, the vote to adopt the new standard was unanimous.