Newport dirt road subject of complaints on online forum

Martin Steam Road near the entrance to Rutland Road on Thursday, March 29, 2012 in Plymouth.
Alex Barber | BDN
Martin Steam Road near the entrance to Rutland Road on Thursday, March 29, 2012 in Plymouth. Buy Photo
By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted April 01, 2012, at 1:44 p.m.

NEWPORT, Maine — Each spring Martin Stream Road becomes an impassable mess. This year has been the worst yet, said one resident who lives on the road.

“I’ve been living there for five years, and it’s always been like that,” said Chris Boulier. “If you saw it two weeks ago, it was much worse.”

Martin Stream Road is in both Plymouth and Newport. It’s a dirt road that branches off Ridge Road.

It has been the subject of two complaints on the See It. Fix It. section of the Bangor Daily News website.

The road has been so full of ruts and potholes that people have left behind pieces of their vehicle.

“They lost parts off their cars. You can hear them dragging them,” said Boulier, adding that the road sees a lot of traffic for a dead-end road. “[Residents] were literally parking at the end of the road and walking [to their houses because the road was impassable]. Some live almost a mile away.”

Although part of the road is in Plymouth, Newport Town Manager James Ricker said the road is Newport’s responsibility.

“The summer before last, we spent $30,000 on that road,” said Ricker. “A lot of dirt roads have been particularly bad this spring. We went from winter to July in 24 hours and that stayed with us for four to five days. It’s not a typical thawing type of spring.”

Ricker also said Rutland and Pratt Roads are also in rough shape right now.

The reason Martin Stream Road is such a problem is because it’s a flat road at the end of Ridge Road hill, said Boulier. All of the water from the hill goes into Martin Stream Road. A culvert under Ridge Road that would take water directly to Martin Stream would solve most of the problems, Boulier said.

Martin Stream Road is much better now, said Boulier, after Newport put down some rocks in the gravel in the middle of the road.

“We at least got one travel lane in the middle of the road,” said Ricker. “It’s not Interstate 95. You don’t want to travel more than 5 or 6 mph. That’s all you can do.”

Ricker said a little more can be done for the road during the spring.

“The selectmen will decide which [roads] to rebuild this summer,” said Ricker. “We’ll go as far as the money can take us.”

Another See It. Fix It. complaint came from a reader in the middle of March who stated the Togus Veterans Affairs Medical Center parking lot was a “nightmare.”

“[There’s] not enough parking spaces. [Veterans] have to circle the lot over and over again hoping a spot will open up,” said the reader in a comment left on the website.

Ryan Lilly, Associate Director of the VA Maine Healthcare System, said the parking situation at Togus used to be a major problem. But it has since been fixed.

“We just opened about 400 new [parking] spots in November and haven’t had a problem since then. We have more than enough parking now,” said Lilly. “It was a long-standing problem for many, many years. We were fortunate enough to get some construction funding to expand our parking lots.”

Lilly said he could see many open spaces from his window.

“I can assure you there’s open spots every day,” he said, adding that handicapped parking spaces were also expanded.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/01/news/mid-maine/newport-dirt-road-subject-of-complaints-on-online-forum/ printed on September 19, 2014