Board contemplating next step in track repairs

The portion of the Naugatuck High School track shown here in the middle is lighter in color and has a different texture than the rest of the track. It was damaged by a tractor-trailer driver two years ago and now Naugatuck officials want it fixed properly. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

The portion of the Naugatuck High School track shown here in the middle is lighter in color and has a different texture than the rest of the track. It was damaged by a tractor-trailer driver two years ago and now Naugatuck officials want it fixed properly. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — More than a year and a half after a truck tore the new track at Naugatuck High School the borough is still dealing with the problem.

In December 2014, a tractor trailer driver from the Belleville, Mich.-based Knight Transportation attempted to turn around on the snow-covered track and ripped it in two places: in lane three and near where the high jump takes place.

Controller Robert Butler told the Board of Mayor and Burgesses last week the rips near the high jump were fixed so well it is hard to tell where the damage had occurred. The rip on lane three, however, has been giving the borough nothing but trouble.

Butler said seams on both sides of the patch can be seen and the concern is it will eventually start popping up or separating. The patch was repainted, he said, but that made the surface a lot smoother.

“The rubber track has a lot of nodules in it because it is very grainy and [the paint] filled that in,” Butler said.

The patch work cost approximately $16,000 and was paid for by the borough.

Attorney Alicia Perillo said the plan was for the trucking company’s insurance to reimburse the borough for the cost of repairs.

“We started these negotiations last year and we refused to accept their tender of $16,000 because we weren’t sure if an additional spray layer would be needed. After an additional year went by we determined no additional layer was needed because the colors blend. But now there is this other issue of the texture differences,” Perillo said.

Butler said the other option would be for the track to be completely repainted in order to make it all match the patch. That would cost approximately $120,000, he said.

Perillo said the borough will reach out the transportation company’s insurance and demand that it cover the cost.

“If [the answer] is an absolute ‘no way, we’re not paying that,’ I think it would be prudent to file a lawsuit. But if they came up with something that was significant we would obviously have to present that to the board and see if it’s worth accepting and how much it is going to cost to pursue litigation,” Perillo said.

Vitale recommend the borough subrogate. Under subrogation, the borough may seek full payment for the repainting of the track from its own insurance company and then the insurance company would be the one to seek repayment from the trucking company.

“That’s assuming our insurance company will agree to the cost and pay for it,” Vitale said.

The borough has until Dec. 31 to take action and either accept the $16,000 or file suit. Otherwise the statute on the claim runs out, Butler said.

The board tabled the issue until its September meeting in order to look further at all of its options.