In wake of criticism, state agrees to postpone Rockland paving
Rockland — The Maine Department of Transportation will hold off on the planned paving of South Main Street if the city wants a delay after city officials pointed out that Rockland would soon be digging it up to perform a storm water project.
Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said Monday, April 10, that while the department was aware that the city was eventually going to install storm water lines, state officials had not been informed that Rockland had obtained funding for the work.
The state will hold off on the South Main Street paving until after the city completes its project, Talbot said.
DOT announced the change after The Courier-Gazette contacted the department about criticism from city officials over the state agency's planning to go ahead with the paving.
"The Maine DOT is insisting on proceeding with the paving of South Main Street knowing that the city is planning on constructing a major storm water line in what will be a newly paved street. This is an example of government at its worst," Rockland Water Pollution Plant Director Terry Pinto said Monday in an email statement.
"The premature paving of this road will delay the storm sewer project and grossly increase the cost, rendering the paving as a total waste of money. It is absurd that the Maine DEP is insisting the city of Rockland separate its sewers and the Maine DOT is insisting on paving a road that is a key component of the city's separation project," Pinto said.
Acting City Manager Audra Caler Bell also pointed out in her weekly manager's report that the state was going ahead with paving, even though the city would be then doing the storm water separation project.
Talbot said the city had not notified the department even as recently as when paving bids were opened earlier this year that it had received funding for the storm water project.
Crooker Construction was awarded the paving project. The state will be paving Camden Street, with the work expected to begin in a few weeks.
Pinto said the storm water project could begin as early as fall, but may not begin until spring 2018. The work will take 60 days to complete, he said.