A Bristol woman, armed with an excavator and a load of logs, blocked the dirt road she lives on to prevent a town contractor from paving the road Nov. 6.
The town of Bristol contracted Lane Construction Corp. in September to pave six town roads, including Brown’s Cove Road.
A Lane crew paved about 100 feet of Brown’s Cove Road before a woman who lives on the road hauled several logs onto the road, parked an excavator in the road and remained in the cab of the excavator, according to Bristol Board of Selectmen Chairman Chad Hanna.
When Hanna arrived about two hours later, Lane had eight trucks on hand with a total of 420 tons of hot asphalt ready to go.
“I made the decision to move (the crew) to another road, just because we were in danger of losing (the asphalt),” Hanna said. “It was going to become a solidified chunk in the trucks. … I figured any other solution was going to take too long.”
Hanna said he appreciates Lane’s flexibility during the situation.
Hanna said he did not talk to the woman in the excavator but talked to her husband, Michael Alderson. Town records list Alderson and Christine Raby as property owners on Brown’s Cove Road.
“She was the one who was in the excavator and had hauled the logs out, to the best of my knowledge,” Hanna said, though Alderson shares her position. “He said that he was opposed to the road being paved as well.”
Hanna said he is “not sure exactly why” the couple does not want the town to pave the road. He later received calls from other Brown’s Cove Road residents, who also expressed opposition to paving the road.
Alderson and Raby declined an interview request.
Hanna did not contact law enforcement.
“I may speak with the town’s lawyer and say, ‘If this happens again, what is the proper way to handle it?’” Hanna said.
He expressed some confusion about the dramatic protest months after the selectmen first proposed the work.
“We’ve had multiple meetings. We’ve done prep work on the road, tree removal, grading, ditching, so it’s not like this project was unknown to people,” Hanna said.
The Lincoln County News reported the Bristol Budget Committee’s unanimous recommendation to raise funds for the project in the newspaper’s Feb. 20 edition.
More recently, the newspaper reported the selectmen accepted Lane’s bid for the work in the Sept. 18 edition.
The selectmen were scheduled to discuss the matter at their next scheduled meeting following the incident, which took place at the town hall at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 19.
The town will not be able to pave the road this year, Hanna said. The selectmen will probably decide how to move forward this winter and spring as they develop a roads budget for town meeting.
The selectmen may meet with residents of the road at some point. “We’ll try to at least give people a chance to explain why they don’t want it paved,” Hanna said.
The protest “was a new experience for me,” Hanna said. “Whether I handled it properly, I don’t know. I did what I thought I had to do at that point.”