RENEE ORDWAY

Proceed with caution: we have all entered pothole purgatory

Posted April 04, 2014, at 1 p.m.
Mike Coffey, an employee of Falmouth's Public Works Department, uses a plate compactor to fill a large pothole Monday, March 3, on U.S. Route 1.
Ben McCanna | The Forecaster
Mike Coffey, an employee of Falmouth's Public Works Department, uses a plate compactor to fill a large pothole Monday, March 3, on U.S. Route 1.

The primitive, hand-painted sign reportedly is located somewhere along Route 35 near Harrison, though it hardly matters. It could be in oh so many different places and it just may be the most appropriate Maine sign ever erected.

“Road Sucks next 11 mi.”

Everyone understands why someone felt compelled to create the white sign with uneven, almost childlike print, attach it to a simple wooden post and stick it in the ground along the rural road.

A picture of the sign is making the rounds on Facebook and is testament to the pothole purgatory we have all entered.

Is it the worst pothole season ever?

Many drivers seem to believe so. Those who work in the world of road maintenance suggest it is at least the worst in several years.

Don Colson, the former anchor at WABI-TV, now lives in Stonington. He said the fishermen down that way were setting their lobster traps in the potholes along Route 15.

Chris Popper, director of sports programming and senior account executive at Townsquare Media, swears he saw the “ Red October submarine surfacing from one in Brewer,” this week.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills recently noted jokingly to me on Facebook that a road down her way was so rough that her radio switched channels by itself and her airbags deployed each time she drove down it.

Like every season in Maine there are beneficiaries and pothole season means good business for towing and tire companies.

A dispatcher at Union Street Citgo in Bangor said her crews were busy towing cars from craters all over the area, sometimes visiting the same hole three or four times in one afternoon.

While we may occasionally make light, for the sake of our sanity, about our annual road trip down the true highway to hell, the reality is that the conditions of Maine roads are shameful, costly and dangerous.

Shane Perry lost two tires on Center Street in Bangor recently.

“It was a direct hit. It was full of water so you couldn’t see it for what it was,” he said.

A former Bangor Daily News employee said her son had to replace six tires because of potholes, two on his car, two on his girlfriend’s car and two on her mother’s car which they had borrowed while their cars were getting new tires.

Bangor attorney Amy Faircloth spent $1,400 to fix damage to the underside of her car because of a pothole encounter.

A 28-year-old Raymond woman was killed after her car hit a frost heave and slammed into a tree.

Drivers are often faced with perilous situations such as enduring spine-jolting stretches of broken road or meandering into the oncoming lane while trying to avoid a deep pothole.

Of course the blame for the atrocious conditions of the roads this spring ranges from Gov. Paul LePage, the governors before him, the state Legislature and or the weather, depending on who you ask.

Blame who or what you will, but the crumbling pavement across Maine creates an impression of a state and its municipalities unable to take care of the most basic infrastructural needs.

A pothole is one thing, a complete disintegration of large portions of roadway is another and is something the folks in Augusta need to address, hopefully with some level of bi-partisanship.

If not we might as well make ourselves a new sign to place at the border.

“Welcome to Maine. Roads Suck.”

You can reach Renee Ordway at reneeordway@gmail.com.

 

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