Houlton officials prep for roadwork

Posted March 27, 2009, at 9:36 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — On the heels of the community approving a $1 million bond to fix its roads and sidewalks, town officials Friday were mapping out a strategy to prioritize the construction work.

A special election was held Tuesday in which voters approved the bond, 231-91.

The decision will allow the town to facilitate work on roads and sidewalks starting as early as this spring.

Town Manager Doug Hazlett said Friday that the municipality already has a system in place to decide which roads will be fixed first.

“The worst roads will be at the top,” he said. “Every road and sidewalk will be graded on its condition and the amount of use and if it is a public safety issue.”

Hazlett said roads with a lot of traffic and homes nearby likely would be repaired before a road that doesn’t see much as much traffic and is not bordered by as many homes.

The town has tried for years to stay ahead of road and sidewalk repairs, but the increasing costs of asphalt and other materials have disrupted efforts.

A few months ago, the town decided to ask voters to approve a $1 million bond to be used specifically for road repairs. The bond is expected to be paid off over 20 years.

The town will put the project out to bid, and local contractors are expected to benefit if hired to do the work.

Some residents spoke out against the bond, but their objections did not sway those who were in favor of borrowing the money to pay for the project.

Hazlett cautioned that there will be a great deal of construction in the community this summer, but he was optimistic about the result.

“I expect that people are going to see a larger amount of construction and traffic congestion in town this summer, but it is for a good cause,” he said.

jlbdn@ainop.com

538-6567

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