BERLIN – As the condition of Harrison Avenue worsens again, Berlin officials say temporary repairs will be made in the coming weeks.
While paving the entire street was deemed too costly to do this year, Mayor Gee Williams said this week the town would be working to fill the potholes on Harrison Avenue.
“Temporary maintenance can be expected before this winter with a follow-up in the spring after Harrison Avenue has experienced the impacts of harsh winter weather,” Williams said.
Though land records confirming that the Town of Berlin has had a permanent easement to Harrison Avenue since 1903 were recovered last year, the town has not yet scheduled any major maintenance to the constantly deteriorating street that connects Broad and Main streets. Williams said paving the entire street would be a costly proposition.
“Earlier this year Berlin received a budgetary estimate of $373,000 to reconstruct the roadway including engineering and design,” he said. “This does not include the cost to realign the intersection at Broad Street, add sidewalk and upgrade the water and sewer infrastructure underneath the road.”
He said the town typically received $120,000 to $150,000 in Highway User Revenue from the state. Berlin used its fiscal year 2019 funding to address roads deemed to be in poorer condition than Harrison Avenue—Grace Street and Showell Street. He says the earliest any major improvements on Harrison Avenue could take place would be fiscal year 2020.
“Until those improvements can be funded in a future budget the town will fill the potholes and do our best to address the other deteriorated portions of the asphalt,” he said. “The condition of the road limits our options. While less than ideal, these temporary repairs should make driving easier for our residents.”
Town Administrator Laura Allen agreed. She said that while the potholes will be filled, the road truly needs to be reconstructed.
“That road, especially the portion between the railroad tracks and Broad Street, is really in need of reconstruction,” she said. “We’ll fill the potholes but that’s not really going to help. It doesn’t get to the heart of the issue.”
She added that it didn’t make sense to do more than fill potholes until the town was ready to reconstruct the street.
“It doesn’t make sense to invest a significant amount of money unless we’re going to do it right,” she said.