At the rate the Town of Hamburg is going, there will be more and more bumpy, cracked roads that desperately need repairs, according to the highway superintendent.
"If we don't address this, we're putting off the inevitable," Highway Superintendent Ted Casey said.
He said two different ratings of the 150 miles of town roads in Hamburg show 13 percent of them are in poor condition and need immediate attention. Another 27 percent are fair, and well on the way to being in poor condition.
Casey wants the Town Board to borrow money so more roads can be repaired at one time.
"Right now, we're treading water," he said.
That's because the annual budget for repairing roads is $1.01 million. That allows crews to mill and pave 4.5 miles of road each year, he said.
At that rate, "we're always going to have 20 miles of bad road," Casey said.
Casey presented his proposal to the Town Board, which must adopt a budget for all the town departments this fall.
Councilwoman Beth Farrell, who is the board liaison to the Highway Department, said there is a lot of information to digest.
"I'm sure it will be part of our future discussions," she said.
Casey said an intern and a staffer were trained in the Cornell Local Roads Program, and all the roads were rated over the summer. Under that rating system, about 20 miles, or 13 percent, have a combination of potholes, severe cracking and roughness, and require immediate attention, and another 43 miles, or 27 percent, have some roughness.
Erie County also rated the roads, and both ratings system found a similar average score for roads in the town, despite having different ratings systems, he said.
Under the current annual allocation of $1.01 million, it would take about four years to fix 20 miles of road. But while the roads in worst condition were being fixed over the four years, more roads would be falling into poor condition.
"We’re never going to get ahead," Casey said. "We are going to slowly sink."
Casey has several suggestions, including an infusion of $4.66 million in one year, which would help to more quickly repair the poor roads. Doubling the road budget also could fix the poor roads in five years.
He said he will release his list of bad roads soon.
"If you live on one of those streets, you want the street done," Casey said.