Quality of road project causes concern

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NEWRY — Newry residents expressed their displeasure of a recently completed pipeline project at Tuesday’s selectmen meeting.

The town had hired a construction crew to install a snowmaking pipe underground on the Sunday River Rd., right before the turn onto the Monkey Brook Rd. The crew finished the job in July and replaced all but the final layer of pavement where the road had been dug up.

The crew planned to return next summer to finish the project. The condition the road is in now has sparked many complaints from bicyclists, and people who frequently travel on the road.

“I’m unsatisfied with the work that I’m going to have to live with for another year,” Fire Chief Bruce Pierce said. “I think they should stand up for the quality of the work of the road that was there before,”

Pierce believed that the repaved section was going to be temporary. The layer of pavement on the road now is higher than the pavement on the rest of the road, forcing the company to leave a sign out saying “bump.” Other attendees of the meeting said the fact that the company had to leave a sign out should indicate that the job was not done well.

“It’s not a good job and it’s a safety issue,” local Amy Call said.

Call frequently rides her bike on the road and said much of the gravel left over from the construction has poured over into the bike lane.

Another issue with section was the possibility of plow truck drivers having to deal with it during the winter. Assistant Chief Alan Fleet said having the section of road higher than the rest could cause a plow to get detached from it’s truck if it was traveling more than 10-15 miles per hour.

“It’s a rough speed bump on both sides of the road,” Fleet said.

Fleet said evening out the pavement with the rest of the road would lessen the issue.

Selectmen Gary Wight brought up the issue of an increase in traffic in the winter time, with people traveling to the Jordan Hotel.

Town Manager Amy Bernard she had been in contact with the construction workers who confirmed that their plan was to apply the final layer of pavement next summer.

According to the workers, the reason for waiting is to allow “the road to go through a freeze and thaw cycle this winter in case of more settling.” The crew also said they spoke to their public safety staff who told them they don’t feel the road’s condition is unsafe.

The crew said if the road commissioner insists on the final layer being applied, they would be able to complete the project this fall.

Newry resident Eric Rivard hopes to see the road completed soon, and has seen where an excess in rain has caused issues where the section is.

“If it rains very heavily, there’s a lot of pooling, right near that road,” Rivard said. ‘I’m very aware that that’s there but people who aren’t aware of it, the people that coming in at a good amount of speed will definitely hydroplane.”

“We are going to address it to Sunday River and hopefully we can get it fixed,” Wight said. “We will do our best to get it back to where it was.”

Wight said the town was under the impression the entire project was going to be done all at once.

Selectmen said they will address the issue with crew and could possibly schedule a meeting if necessary.

Selectmen will meet next on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 5 p.m. at the Sunday River school house.

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