Rockland council renews call for state to complete $3 million fix of Old County Road

Posted March 11, 2014, at 7:11 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The deterioration of one of the busiest roads in Rockland is frustrating city officials.

City Manager Tom Luttrell told councilors at their Monday night meeting that he met last week with a Maine Department of Transportation representative and raised the issue of the poor condition of Old County Road due to the number of potholes.

He said the state, which is responsible for maintenance of Old County Road, said there was no money available to repair the road this year. The estimated cost of reconstructing the three miles of the road located in Rockland is more than $3 million.

The manager said state officials told him the most that can be set aside for the road is $500,000 per year.

Councilor Eric Hebert said he hears daily from people who believe that Old County Road is in deplorable condition.

A committee consisting of representatives of interested parties along the six-mile-long road that runs from Route 1 in Thomaston to Route 1 in Rockport called in April 2013 for major improvements to the road, particularly with the expected increase in traffic with the opening of the Walmart Supercenter in Thomaston. That store opened in October.

“The current roadway is too narrow with crumbling shoulders and poor drainage. This has been on the Maine DOT work plan since the 1990s or earlier and should be included in the Old County Road rebuild,” the committee report stated.

The panel recommended the entire road should be repaved.

In other action at their Monday night meeting, Rockland councilors voted unanimously to renew the lease for the Brass Compass to use a 10-foot wide strip of land adjacent to the restaurant at Winslow-Holbrook Square. The agreement calls for the restaurant to pay $1,500 for use of the strip to place tables and chairs.

The issue did not generate public opposition this year. Councilors voted 4-1 to reject a proposal by Councilor Frank Isganitis to approve a five-year pact with the Brass Compass.

The Brass Compass has used the strip for 11 years, and in some of the past years, it had generated criticism from people who did not want a portion of the war memorial to be leased to a private business. Others, however, supported the request saying the restaurant’s owner has cleaned up the square and added vitality to Main Street.

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