Private Roads Assistance Center
Welcome to the Town of Windham's Private Roads Assistance Center (PRAC). The information provided on these pages was compiled by the town to help residents of private roads, with or without public easements, to improve the condition of their roads and to make them safer for residents, their guests, first responders, and all of the businesses that provide goods and services to the residents.
Maintenance for Public Roads
Currently, all private roads with public easements in Windham receive winter maintenance performed by the town and its' contractors. While the Council Policy Regarding the Extension of Winter Maintenance on Public Easements contains very specific criteria that have been used to guide acceptance of private roads as public easements since its adoption on December 13, 1994, there were no criteria placed on public easements that were in existence prior to its adoption. Many of these "grandfathered" public easements started out as camp roads and were not built to any recognized design standard.
Through a combination of poor design, inadequate maintenance, and increased year round traffic, some of the grandfathered public easements have deteriorated to the point where they have become hazardous to anyone traveling and/or performing winter maintenance on these roads. These hazardous conditions have resulted in accidents, numerous slide-offs, and have prevented fire/rescue vehicles from responding to emergency calls within an acceptable time frame. The hazardous conditions also have a real cost impact in terms of increased wear-and-tear on vehicles.
Policy for Continuing Winter Maintenance on Public Easements
Recognizing that some of the grandfathered public easements have become unsafe, and that the town and the residents of public easements have a shared responsibility for the safety of all who use or perform winter maintenance on public easements, the town has recently adopted a Policy for Continuing Winter Maintenance on Public Easements (March 8, 2011).
The policy lays out the process that the town and the residents of public easements will follow for ensuring that reasonably safe conditions are created and maintained on public easements. Each public easement will be evaluated every three years at a minimum and, with the assistance of a Public Easement Advisory Committee comprised of citizen volunteers and a council liaison, roads that fail to meet basic acceptance criteria will be required to prepare a scope of work and schedule for remediating the deficiencies.
Public Easement Advisory Committee
Understanding that every public easement is beset with unique challenges, the Public Easement Advisory Committee will collaborate with the road's residents to create a work plan and schedule that considers the challenges that must be overcome, while making reasonable progress toward remediating the deficiencies. If a public easement fails to make any progress toward remediating deficiencies, the Town Council could vote to suspend winter maintenance on that public easement.
Although the concerns that the town has with private roads are mostly directed at public easements, many of the resources listed in this PRAC can be utilized by the residents of any private road in the Town of Windham.