Back to gravel roads?

NORWICH – County highway officials are concerned that Governor Eliot Spitzer’s budget proposal, coupled with high prices for fuel and materials, could cut in half the 63 miles of roadwork it has scheduled to begin once the weather turns.

“I’m scared to see the cut backs from the state. It will be interesting to see just how bad things are,” Public Works Director Randy Gibbon said. Members of the Public Works Committee discussed road maintenance methods, from using multi-grade pavement to regrinding and resurfacing, at their February meeting.

“Some roads might be better returned to gravel,” Gibbon said.

While the Governor’s 2008/2009 budget calls for reducing the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) funding by $9 million dollars, Gibbon said his real concern was a potential $4.5 billion shortfall in the state’s overall budget.

“Where do they make up that budget?” he asked. “Nobody knows where this shortfall will be made up from. Highway budgets are discretionary funding. Usually the first few budgets they go after are highways.”

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