The Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday to approve $822,000 to fix bumpy and aging roads throughout the town with special pavement overlays and sealing, rather than wait for bigger problems to emerge needing more intensive repairs, Assistant Public Works Director Tiger Mann said.

"It is much cheaper to get at it earlier and do certain things along the life cycle of a road to prolong its life, rather than setting it and forgetting it," Mann said.

The pavement preservation processes known as micro thin overlay, microsurfacing and cape sealing are techniques used to repair worn areas of local roads short of the more costly traditional milling and paving, Mann said.

The approval includes $400,662 to microsurface 5.22 miles of sections of road on North Wilton, Hawks Hill, Marvin Ridge and White Oak Shade roads; Kimberly Place and Autumn Lane, according to Mann. The process involves the application of a thin layer of asphalt mixed with polymer and minerals to smooth out the road surface and close cracks, he said.

The board also included $335,768 for the more intensive cap sealing process on 1.79 miles of roads on Arrowhead Trail, Carriage Lane, Long Tree Farm Road, Braeburn Drive and Bridle Path. The process is comprised of a mixture of gravel chips and liquid asphalt to seal any cracks in the road surface and slow the aging process, he said.

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"It is much more economical and only works for certain roads at certain times in their life cycle," Mann said. "If you didn't do it, you get into a much more expensive repair."

The two contracts and a third $84,689 contract to seal smaller cracks in asphalt roads to prevent the formation of potholes were awarded to Braintree, Mass., company Seal Coating Inc., Mann said.

Selectman Nick William asked Mann, given the widespread damage to roads this winter in town, whether the town will need to invest more than the current year's $2.5 million into the town's pavement preservation program to keep roads in good shape.

This year, Mann told town officials the harsh winter set back the town's efforts to improve the condition of its pavement overall by three years and reduced the town's pavement condition index, a broad measure of pavement quality, from 83 to 79 out of 100. Roads with a pavement condition index of 73 or higher are considered to be in good condition or better.

"In your opinion, given the increased costs over the next decade, will the $2.5 million we bond for this program be enough to allow us to enhance our pavement to the level we want to get to?" Williams asked.

Mann predicted that higher levels of investment will be needed to keep pace with maintenance needs based on already high and climbing asphalt costs and other costs also increasing.

"We're rapidly approaching a stasis point where we might start losing ground," Mann said. "While asphalt prices have doubled, other costs are coming up too. I don't think we need to do anything right now in terms of additional funding, but should wait and take a look at it as part of the broader picture of the town's debt service."

Other votes

The board also voted to approve accepting $77,906 in funds from the state of Connecticut's Main Street Improvement Grant to add a 750-foot sidewalk to a section of the south side of Heritage Hill Road from Husted Lane east to an already existing sidewalk. The town received four bids for the work, which were all in a narrow range, Mann said.

Animal Control Officer MaryAnn Kleinschmitt was authorized to hire former Greenwich animal control officer Allyson Halm part time to provide response to wildlife and other animal complaints. Kleinschmitt said her recent injury and an injury to another officer has left the unit understaffed. With her return, the unit has four animal control officers, one less than in the past.

"About six months ago, one of our part-timers had back surgery and has been out since November and we don't know when he is coming back," Kleinschmitt said. "In the last three or four months of being out we've had a void in being able to cover what we need."

First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III said he was pleased the town could get Halm, who is already fully trained and a seasoned animal control officer.

The board also approved $23,500 to hire Santella Electric Inc. to install five decorative lamp posts on Morse Court downtown, though Mallozzi and Williams expressed concern about about $15,000 of the cost being set aside for police protection of the project.

"It's more than two-thirds of the cost," Mallozzi said. "A road is one thing, but we're talking about a sidewalk installation of five lamp posts. For the record, we would not want to see anywhere near that $15,000 amount used and would want to be told if that was happening."