The Iron Horse Boulevard resurfacing project is under way and town officials expect the first phase of the project to be complete by the end of the week. When the project is complete, motorists won't be the only vehicles to have their own lane.
In effort to continue making Simsbury a bicycle-friendly community, town officials decided to create the first dedicated bicycle lanes on Iron Horse Boulevard once the resurfacing project is complete.
Iron Horse Boulevard was initially scheduled to be repaired three years ago, according to Public Works Director Tom Roy.
"If we let it go much longer we would have started to see potholes," Roy said.
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The town's Paving Management Plan accounts for annual resurfacing projects to avoid more costly repairs in the future when road surfaces are damaged by weather and long-term use.
"Once a road completely falls apart, it becomes really expensive," Roy said. If the town doesn't stay on top of repairs, Roy said a minor resurfacing project could end up costing 4-5 times more.
"Simsbury has more roadway miles than any of the surrounding towns," Roy said. The town maintains 164 miles of roadway, 64 percent more than the average of 100 miles in nearby towns.
This week crews are working to add a one-inch overlay to Iron Horse Boulevard at a cost of approximately $175,000, according to Roy. The repairs to town roads are paid for each year using a combination of $475,000 from the town's operating budget, $160,000 in state aid, and the remainder is paid for using bond money.
When the resurfacing project is complete, crews will begin work on restriping the vehicle lanes and will add 5-foot bicycle lanes on either side of Iron Horse Boulevard.
"At certain times it gets really congested on the bike trail," Roy said. Officials hope the new dedicated bike lanes will be used by the more avid cyclists.
"By no means is this going to mean bicycles aren't allowed on the trail," Roy added.
Roy expects the restriping project to begin in the coming weeks.