Following complaints last month from residents about new steel guardrails the town had installed to replace aging wood and wire ones, Wilton has reassessed its methods for how it decides whether guardrails are needed along Wilton roads. In addition, town crews will be removing the recently installed metal guardrails on Wild Duck Rd. and Woods End Dr. after residents on those streets complained, saying rails were placed where they weren’t needed, and the aesthetics detracted from Wilton’s rural character.

Late yesterday (Sept. 18), town officials issued a press release about placement of guide rails (which is the new way the town refers to what until now have been called guardrails). The release explained that a consultant reviewed how the town had been installing guide rails up until now, and found that the standards used by the town to determine where to place the rails were “incomplete.”

“The Town’s guide rail placement standards were incomplete and do not take into account the many roadway and roadside characteristic scenarios. When we apply the more comprehensive State guide rail standards–roadway speed, roadside heights, etc. are taken into account,” the release stated.

As a result, Department of Public Works/Facilities director Chris Burney and town engineer Frank Smeriglio will adjust how they determine where guide rails will go.

Using the State guide rail standards, Burney and Smeriglio decided the guide rails on both Wild Duck Rd. and Woods End Dr. could be removed. They have not yet determined if other town wide guide rails can be removed, but going forward the town will no longer rely on an existing guide rail as evidence that it should be replaced with a new one.

In addition, the town will get data about the guide rails from the recent scanning of town-owned roads during Streetscan’s evaluation of paving needs. According to the release, the company also captured data about guide rails, which can be translated into inventory and mapping similar to what was done for road condition. The town will contract with Streetscan to provide DPW with the necessary database to begin evaluating guide rails currently in place.

At next Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting (Sept. 23), the members will see a presentation on available materials that can be used as guide rails, as options to potentially replace the steel ones that were the DPW’s most recent choice.

The release noted that Burney and Smeriglio are thankful the residents of Wild Duck Rd. and Woods End Dr. raised the matter, “allowing the department to change its practices and improve service to the community going forward.”

“This is exactly as it should happen. Residents raise a concern, the Town investigates and, where possible, makes improvements benefiting all residents,” Burney said.