Rockland’s Old County Road repair work may cost $2.3 million

Posted April 04, 2014, at 12:06 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland City Council will sit down Monday evening with state transportation engineers to discuss options to fix a 7,700-foot stretch of crumbling Old County Road.

The estimated cost of repairing the stretch that runs from Route 17 to Thompson Meadow Road is estimated by the engineering firm of Gartley & Dorsky to be slightly more than $2.3 million.

One proposal up for consideration Monday night is for the city council to ask voters in June to approve borrowing up to $1.6 million toward the project. The city is also considering applying for a state transportation grant to cover the remainder of the work.

Mayor Larry Pritchett stressed Friday that these ideas are simply proposals because the full council has not discussed the matter. He said the proposals could evolve over the next few weeks.

The Maine Department of Transportation offers a municipal partnership program in which the city could apply to receive up to $500,000 for the project. That cap could be increased with the approval of the transportation commissioner. Interim City Manager Tom Luttrell told councilors in a memo that the city has a good chance of getting more than the $500,000 if it acts soon.

Councilors have said that they are receiving considerable complaints from residents about the road’s poor condition. Old County is lined by former lime quarries and is narrower than state standards. The average daily number of vehicles on the road in 2010 was more than 7,700 but that was before a Walmart store opened in Thomaston, which was expected to increase traffic.

Old County Road is considered a state-aid road, for which the state will perform basic paving. However, state transportation officials categorize Old County Road as a lower priority than three parallel roads to Old County — Route 1, Route 1A and Route 90.

Old County Road mainly serves local traffic, while most through traffic uses the other parallel routes, DOT regional manager Mike Burns said last month. He pointed out last month that the state will be investing $10 million on two Knox County Route 1 projects over the next few years.

The state plans to rebuild nearly 1.4 miles of Route 1 in Warren this summer and next year, and then another 2.2 miles in Thomaston in 2015 and 2016. Burns said the municipal partnership program would be an option for the city.

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