BAR HARBOR — Several weeks into the tree-clearing phase of the project to rebuild Route 3, the landscape in that part of town already looks markedly different.
Sargent Corporation of Stillwater holds the contract for the whole road reconstruction project with the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT). The subcontractor working on the clearing is Comprehensive Land Technologies (CLT) of South China.
Trees with blue marks are slated to be cut down. The large row of black pines near the road at the College of the Atlantic marked blue are set to come down Saturday or Monday, CLT foreman Dan Grajewski said this week.
COA officials have said those trees are unhealthy anyway, damaged from years of exposure to road salt. One nearby tree fell in a storm last year, damaging several cars.
Trees with yellow marks or yellow caution tape will not be cut, according to plans. Blue and orange landscaper’s tape together mark the cut line.
DOT spokesman Ted Talbot said all the material removed belongs to the contractor.
“That is Sargent’s property, just like when we dismantle a bridge,” he said. “All that material is property of the contractor. With us, contractually, that’s the deal.”
Gajewski said the logs are piled in McQuinn’s pit in Hull’s Cove. The CLT team plans to sort them for future sale.
“Most roadside pine isn’t that good,” he said. “We’ll save whatever pine logs we can get. Everything else gets chipped for biomass boilers.”
Some high schools and colleges, such as Colby in Waterville, have large biomass boilers for heat, he said. They are among CLT’s customers for wood chips.
One property owner along the route, at the corner of Baymeath Road, wrote into their agreement with DOT for land taking and right-of-way that they would keep their black locust trees for firewood.
The policy of shipping away the logs and brush is in contrast to tree clearing for utility lines, such as work done last year further north on Route 3 for Emera Maine’s new transmission lines.
“It is our practice to leave wood from trimming, as the wood is material that legally belongs to the land owner,” Emera spokeswoman Allison Doughty said. “We move it out of the right-of-way to ensure safe access of the right-of-way for utility, DOT and others that may be performing work in that area, but we do leave it on the property.”