LINCOLN, Maine — What’s been called the town’s worst stretch of road will get what officials hope is a permanent fix when a Maine Department of Transportation crew starts a $1.4 million reconstruction next month.
A DOT crew will start repairing, repaving and installing new drainage on West Broadway, which is also known as U.S. Route 2 and Route 6. The job will run from Penobscot Valley Avenue to Fleming Street, said Dennis Lovely, project manager for DOT’s Region IV, which encompasses Calais to Shirley and Lincoln to Pitts-field.
Within that 1½-mile stretch is about 1,000 feet of West Broadway that includes a Hannaford Supermarket, Key Bank branch, Irving convenience store, Northern Penobscot Tech Region III high school and railroad tracks. The stretch of road chronically floods, ices over, sinks and heaves up through the seasons, creating potholes and other problems that drive motorists crazy, Lovely said.
“Maintenance has gone out just about every year trying to hold the road together, so there will be a big relief. The biggest relief will be to the people who use that road in Lincoln,” Lovely said Wednesday. “People in Lincoln should be very happy because they have wanted this work done for a long time.”
Easily one of Lincoln’s busiest areas, West Broadway is heavily used by regular traffic. In addition, delivery trucks service stores along West Broadway, logging trucks use it to get to the Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC plant on Katahdin Avenue, which is just west of Fleming Street, and school buses take children to town schools over the road.
Poor drainage causes the road’s problems, Lovely said.
“The cross slope is flat there, so the water kind of sits there. The railroad tracks are set up higher than the road,” Lovely said, “and if water doesn’t get off the road, it breaks it up. It freezes, goes down in the cracks in the road, and that creates [a] frost heave.”
As part of the work on West Broadway near Park Street, the site of the most flooding, crews will mill the road, remove asphalt, adjust gravel heights so the road drains better, install drainage pipes and replace the railroad tracks with rubber membranes, also to aid water drainage, Lovely said.
“Hopefully, that will eliminate all this patching work. Hopefully, it is a fix that will last for a long time,” Lovely said.
The work on West Broadway will be done at night and stop at 7 a.m. daily. Spring Street will be closed for one day while new pipes are installed. DOT will notify residents when the date of closure is set, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.
The heavy work will likely begin during the first or second week of August, Lovely said. Crews also are working on Route 2 from Evergreen Drive to a spot a half-mile past Frost Street as part of the $1.4 million project, he said.
West Broadway will be closed for two 12-hour periods during the work, with traffic detoured to Enfield Road-Penobscot Valley Avenue, Goodwin said.