Infrastructure projects on town’s wish list



MOUNT DESERT — Public Works Director Tony Smith has the go-ahead from the Board of Selectmen to draft 14 warrant articles that he is recommending for voter consideration at the May town meeting.

One warrant article would authorize the town to spend up to $500,000 — with an equal amount to be paid by the state — for completion of the 2.1-mile Route 198 reconstruction project.

At the 2017 town meeting, voters authorized spending $500,000 as the town’s share of the first half of the rebuild, from the Giant Slide Trailhead to just north of the Parkman Mountain parking area. That work is currently out for bid. Smith said construction is expected to start around the end of February and to be completed by late November.

If voters at this year’s town meeting approve funding for the second half of the project, from the Giant Slide Trailhead to Eagle Lake Road, construction would take place during the same period next year.

Another town meeting warrant article would authorize the town to raise funds for improving up to seven crosswalks in 2018 and for designing improvements to about 30 others. Those improvements would occur in 2019.

Smith reminded the selectmen at their Jan. 2 meeting that most of the town’s roughly 50 crosswalks do not meet federal or state accessibility and safety standards. Some of those crosswalks are slated for elimination.

Voters also are likely to be asked to authorize funding for engineering and construction services to solve longstanding surface water drainage problems on Sylvan, Pine and Spruce roads in Northeast Harbor.

A warrant article requested by Island Housing Trust on behalf of residents of its nine-house Ripples Hill neighborhood in Somesville would authorize the town to assume ownership of the neighborhood’s two roads, Farnham’s Way and Sydney’s Way. Voters also would be asked to authorize the town to accept ownership of the neighborhood’s gravity sewer system.

“This is the first time in my 17 years [here] that someone has asked us to assume ownership and maintenance of a private road and a private sewer,” Smith told the selectmen. “I recommend both. Based on my knowledge of the sewer and the roadways, they do meet our criteria.”

Alison Beane, executive director of Island Housing Trust, said Ripples Hill residents currently pay for the roads to be plowed. The neighborhood is only a few years old, so the roads have not needed any repair work.

“Going forward, they would have to pay for any maintenance of the roads,” she said. “So, if the town does not adopt the roads, the residents will need to start thinking about setting aside money for that.”

She said the same is true for the sewer system.

“For some of the homeowners there, that would be a difficulty,” she said.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]