Featured Story

Road report: Island fares well in new study


Overall, the 55 miles of town-owned roads on Shelter Island are in good shape.

That’s according to a study done this year by the town’s engineering department with assistance from the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) to assess the state of the Island’s roads.

The main function of the CLRP is to store and analyze data and generate reports to assist municipal officials in making cost-effective decisions. It evaluates the condition of roads and the rate of continuing damage, and helps prioritize maintenance strategies.

Beginning in May, Engineering Department intern Andrei Oraseanu surveyed every road on the Island except those in the Heights, Dering Harbor and the state- and county-owned roads.

Presenting the information at Tuesday’s Town Board work session, Mr. Oraseanu said the program rates road conditions roughly on a scale of zero to 100, with the ideal road at the top end and worst road at the bottom. This year the Island’s roads rated an overall 74, which is an improvement over a value of 63 made in 2015.

The value system for the survey rates a road in “good” condition between 61 and 80 on the CLRP scale and “very good” between 81 and 100.

Mr. Oraseanu noted that the Island’s rating has gone from the “lower end of good” five years ago to the “higher end of good” today.

This was achieved by presenting CLRP figures to state representatives who found grant money for the town, and a previous Town Board’s own commitment to bankrolling improvements, which was noted by former councilman Ed Brown, who attended the work session.

In 2015, the total cost to repair all roads would have cost $8.5 million, but thanks to repairs done since then, Mr. Oraseanu said, the “figure has dropped to $6 million.”

The proposed budget for repairs by the Highway Department for 2020 is $307,000. If that figure is approved, and re-upped annually, all town-owned roads deemed in need of repair would take nine years to complete.

Some roads, however, have deteriorated to a point that it’s useless to repair since they need to be totally reconstructed. Mr. Oraseanu told the board that his survey found 23 town-owned roads in that condition. The Engineering Department recommends that nothing be done with them, with the decision made by tracking traffic on the roads and the number of people who live nearby, among other factors. Mr. Oraseanu cited Overlook Place and Island Way as two roads that should not be repaired because it would be a waste of money.

Julia Weisenberg, who is running for Town Council on the Republican line, asked Mr. Oraseanu how many miles made up the 23 roads. Mr. Oraseanu checked his figures and answered it was 7. 2 miles.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has determined, in a report it issued in 2015, that a third of New York State’s roads are in the “poor” category. The town’s engineering department has concluded that Shelter Island now has better roads on average than the rest of New York State.

In other business: The town is getting organized when it comes to complaints. In the future when a complaint is made to departments, the employee fielding the complaint will inform Arthur Bloom, the “ordinance enforcement official.”

The complaints will be logged and investigated.

The Gift of Life Foundation has asked that there be a noise code exemption for a charity benefit to be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 13 at the Ram’s Head Inn. Police Chief Jim Read brought the issue to the board, noting that the benefit is for a good, cause, and it’s an afternoon event.

The board seemed agreeable to the exemption.