Rockland asks DOT to hold off paving road
Rockland — The Rockland City Council formally voted Wednesday night, April 12, to ask the state to hold off paving South Main Street so that the city would not be tearing it up shortly after to install storm water lines.
The council voted 3-1 at the April 12 meeting -- after more than 30 minutes of discussion -- to make the request to the Maine Department of Transportation. Mayor Will Clayton voted against the order.
DOT has said it would hold off the work if requested by the city.
The state was planning within the next few weeks to pave both South Main and Camden streets. Since the two streets were a single project put out by the state transportation department, paving of both streets will be postponed.
Acting City Manager Audra Caler Bell said Wednesday night that the state has said the paving would be done during the summer of 2019 if it is not done this year.
Rockland Water Pollution Plant Director Terry Pinto said the installation of storm water lines -- from the railroad tracks by Crescent Street to about where the city clock is located at the Water Street intersection -- could be done this fall or next spring.
Pinto had been sharply critical of the planned paving schedule.
"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," 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.
Councilor Valli Geiger agreed, saying at the Wednesday night meeting that she did not want to be part of having a newly paved street torn up. She pointed out that Rockland voters have approved borrowing money for the storm water project.