College Park service roads

The College Park service road is pictured prior to the recent repairs.

The City of Newark agreed to fund short-term repairs to the pothole-plagued service road in College Park, but residents may have to chip in for a more permanent fix.

At issue is the service road that runs behind the houses on Madison Drive. It is used by residents to access the parking spaces behind their houses and by city refuse trucks for trash collection.

The road has large potholes that damage residents’ cars, according to Councilwoman Dwendolyn Creecy, who lives on Madison Drive. Since being elected in April, Creecy has pushed for the city to fix the road, arguing that most of the damage was caused by city trucks.

The service road is privately owned and is supposed to be maintained by the residents through a maintenance corporation, however no maintenance corporation has ever been formed for College Park.

In 2004, the city funded a full reconstruction of the road, but it has since fallen into disrepair once again.

Last month, council approved spending $2,500 in city funds on a temporary fix. A few days later, city crews used a street sweeper and vacuum truck to remove loose debris from the potholes and then filled the potholes. The crews will continue to monitor the road and make minor repairs as needed.

“Our trash trucks are $250,000 to $300,000 a piece. Slamming around on potholes isn’t an ideal situation because it causes damage to the trucks as well. So it’s in both of our interests to have service roads that are in good condition,” City Manager Tom Coleman said.

Meanwhile, the city will begin planning for a long-term fix, which would involve removing the current road surface, fixing structural deficiencies in the base layer and then repaving it.

Coleman said it will be up to city council to decide whether College Park residents will have to chip in for the permanent repairs. In 2014, when service roads in Cherry Hill Manor needed to be repaired, the city split the cost with residents 50-50. The charge for residents was assessed over five years.

In a memo to city council, Public Works Director Tim Filasky said the city is willing to negotiate alternative payment options for residents to help reduce the upfront costs and is open to the possibility that residents won’t have to shoulder the entire cost.

“There is a case for the city to assist in the preparation of the plans and specifications and have some financial responsibility in the ultimate repair based on our use,” he said. “There has also been interest from city council, state legislators and other funding sources to help with the cost of this major rehabilitation.”

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