Thursday, April 12, 2012

Road issues top Pittsfield Council agenda

  PITTSFIELD – If the town of Pittsfield wanted to build up and pave every gravel road in the community, the cost would be a staggering $1.1 million in today’s dollars. Even just building them up without paving would set taxpayers back $439,000.   Realistically, however, the town only has a balance of $36,467 to upgrade Sibley Pond, Hussey, Wilson and Taylor roads this. At the April 17 Town Council meeting, Town Manager Kathryn Ruth will recommend that the town allocate $31,000 from the account to do as much work as possible to keep the roads passable. Sibley Pond Road would get the most attention as Ruth has proposed building up the first 1,000 feet and hiring an excavator to do some ditching work.
   The town has also been asked to submit their annual requests to the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) for maintenance on state roads that pass through the community. In her report to the council, Ruth noted that the new process requires that towns “submit their requests through their planning agencies (or) economic development districts. Therefore, these requests will be forwarded to the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments (KVCOG) for consideration.”
   Ruth indicated, however, that she wasn’t too happy about the new system. “The new process utilized last year did not result in any of the town’s projects being selected due to the scoring system ... by KVCOG.” So she added some background information regarding the condition of Somerset Avenue, the main thoroughfare from Interstate 95 to the downtown area.
   Somerset Avenue has “large sink holes, potholes and wide horizontal gaps in numerous locations along the road,” Ruth wrote. “Car damage and minor accidents of occurred over the last three years.”
   The town manager also added that the condition of Somerset Avenue “is commented on negatively by visitors, prospective businesses, current businesses, property owners…truck drivers and other commuters.”
   Any projects approved by MDOT this year would not be funded or get underway until 2014 or 2015.
   The Town Council will also attempt to fill openings on various boards and committees, including the Board of Appeals, Board of Assessment Review, Board of Ethics, Cemetery Board of Trustees and the Economic Development Committee.
   Tuesday’s meeting gets underway at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers.

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