MILO, Maine — Anyone concerned that the Maine Department of Transportation won’t be repairing a badly potholed section of West Main and Main streets next year has nothing to worry about, state officials said Tuesday.
Transportation department engineers visited the site Monday and have added about $325,000 worth of work to the job, which now carries a price tag of about $1.14 million, counting preliminary and actual engineering costs, said Engineer Shawn Davis, a DOT project manager overseeing the project.
“It is considered to be a rehabilitation. It is what the road needs. It certainly needs more than a resurfacing, just placing pavement on top of it,” Davis said Tuesday.
Thirty-nine people noted the road’s poor condition on the “See It. Fix It” feature available on bangordailynews.com. Another 40 wanted Route 16 in Milo fixed for the same reason.
Routes 6, 11 and 16, the main road network through Milo, all converge at Main and West Main or run along them. Those designations make them state roads, whose maintenance town leaders aren’t and have no wish to be responsible for.
The DOT will rework the 1.19-mile section of the road from the bridge that spans a river flowing between Sebec and Boyd lakes west on Main Street, as the road is known locally, to West Main Street, said Ted Talbot, spokesman for Maine Department of Transportation.
The work is set to begin in June and will be extensive. Private contractors who win bids to do the work will rip up and pulverize the road until it achieves a gravel-like consistency, mix in Portland cement and pulverize it again before regrading the road to improve water and traffic flow. Then the road will be compressed and topped with hot-mix asphalt, Davis said.
“We really would like to get out there. We would like to get out there and be finished before school begins in the fall,” Davis said.
The road’s shoulders and a nearby intersection will be improved under different projects due to be done simultaneously. The three efforts will run concurrently to minimize traffic stoppage, Davis said.
The goal, Davis said, is to leave Milo with a section of road that will be in good shape for about 12 years, depending on how heavy the road’s traffic is or gets.
That section of road presently handles about 6,300 vehicles a day — a typical amount for a rural community like Milo’s, Davis said.
Much more unusual is its truck traffic, which is heavy now and by 2024 is expected to grow to 7,000 vehicles a day, with 17 percent of the total volume, about 1,190 vehicles, expected to be trucks. That’s a high number of trucks for a rural town, Davis said.
Most of the trucks go to the Pleasant River lumber mill, downtown merchants and to wood suppliers who work in the area, town and transportation officials said.
The high cost of asphalt, which is petroleum-based, is the single largest expense associated with road repair work such as this, Davis said.
The job will require slightly more than 6,000 tons. Asphalt prices fluctuate wildly with the cost of the oil, and rural areas generally have higher costs than urban areas due to the cost of diesel fuel most commonly used when the asphalt is trucked. Bangor pays about $70 to $80 a ton while Milo pays closer to $90 for hot-mix asphalt, Davis said.
“I have seen hot mix for over $100 a ton in northern Maine,” Davis said. “There are a lot of contributing factors to it.”