December 26, 2019
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Maine DOT to stop using road sealant that could be connected to accidents

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Construction continues in Downtown Bangor in 2018.

The Maine Department of Transportation said it will no longer use a certain type of road sealant on travel lanes of state roads after investigating an accident earlier this year.

Department spokesperson Paul Merrill said the agency began to investigate “fog sealant” after a Morning Sentinel report of an accident raised questions about the use of the substance, which seals up imperfections on pavement. While Merrill said the department found no direct connection between the sealant and accidents, it decided to end its use due to concerns about how precisely it’s applied.

“They’re essentially controlling a nozzle by hand to determine the amount that goes on the road. It’s not a precise process,” he said. “That’s the main reason that we think it’s probably the best decision to stop using it.”

Merrill says the department will continue to use fog sealant on the shoulders of roads. But he says for travel lanes, the DOT will look at other methods instead, including lightly paving or filling in potholes. He also said that with a significant transportation funding gap, the department will look to other shorter-term fixes instead, including light paving and filling in potholes.

“We would love to be able to give more thorough treatments to a lot of the infrastructure in the state. We think that’s the best way to move forward,” he said. “But until we find a sustainable funding source that can pass up in the state house with bipartisan support, we’re trying to make do with what we have.”

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.


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