LINCOLN, Maine — A $1.4 million reconstruction of West Broadway almost lost one of its key components when a railroad opted to avoid replacing tracks across West Broadway between Fleming and Perry streets, officials said Tuesday.
Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said in a statement Friday that town officials were told last week that Pan Am Railways was not going to fix the tracks, which are a critical component to drainage problems that necessitated the $1.4 million reconstruction.
“There was a little confusion in the beginning. Pan Am was hoping to use a new technology they have to replace the crossing but they haven’t been able to obtain it,” Dennis Lovely, project manager for the Maine Department of Transportation’s Region IV, said Tuesday.
However, Pan Am officials met with Lovely and other officials Tuesday and outlined the work they will do, Lovely said.
They had hoped to replace the railroad tracks with rubber membranes that would help the area to drain better, but will use regular metal rails instead, Lovely said. The area’s lack of drainage, which was caused only partially by the tracks, creates chronic flooding, icing, sinkholes and heaves in the road.
One of Lincoln’s busiest areas, West Broadway is heavily used by regular traffic. 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.
Since mid-August, construction crews have been repairing, repaving and installing new drainage on West Broadway, which is also known as U.S. Routes 2 and 6. The job runs from Penobscot Valley Avenue to Fleming Street.
Within that 1½-mile stretch are many of the town’s retail outlets, Northern Penobscot Tech Region III high school, the railroad tracks, some motels and homes.
The track replacement work will begin at 6 a.m. Sept. 20, Lovely said. That work is “pretty critical. “A lot of people have complained about that crossing for a long time,” he added.