Tony Smith, director of Public Works in Mount Desert. Smith called a portion of Route 198 that may be rebuilt "a very poor and ever-deteriorating stretch." ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Rte. 198 rebuild funds sought

MOUNT DESERT — Voters at town meeting in May will be asked to authorize the town to borrow up to $500,000 to pay half the cost of rebuilding about 1.1 miles of Route 198 between Parkman Mountain and Sargeant Drive.

The Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to pay the other half through its Municipal Project Initiative.

Public Works Director Tony Smith and DOT officials have determined that the entire 2.2-mile section of Route 198 between Parkman Mountain and Eagle Lake Road needs to be rebuilt. Smith has described it as being “a very poor and ever-deteriorating stretch.”

But the DOT is allowed to fund only up to $500,000 per project per year through the Municipal Project Initiative. So, if the town wishes to complete the northern half of the needed road improvement, it will have to wait until next year to apply for the funds and go back to voters for approval to borrow another half-million dollars.

The total cost of the entire project is estimated at $1.99 million.

Smith said in a Feb. 14 memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt that the DOT has been planning a “light maintenance treatment, also known as skinny mix,” of Route 198 this year “to essentially hold the pieces together.”

He said that if the town’s voters approve the agreement with the DOT to rebuild the road, the DOT will be able to apply the funds currently earmarked for the skinny mix treatment to its $500,000 share of the reconstruction work.

Smith told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night that the project likely would start after Labor Day this year. The board voted to place the proposal to borrow the town’s share of the cost of the project on the warrant for the May 2 town meeting.

Selectman Martha Dudman asked Smith if he is confident that the DOT would come through with another $500,000 to complete the 2.2-mile road project next year.

“Yes,” he said. “Because then the DOT will walk away from 198 for the rest of their lives.”

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]
Dick Broom

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