BAR HARBOR — A couple of accidents on Route 3 in the last few weeks may be connected to a slippery road surface between Dreamwood Hill and Hulls Cove, according to Lt. David Kerns of Bar Harbor Police Department (BHPD). The most recent was on Oct. 2.
The section of road was rebuilt in 2017, in the first year of the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) Route 3 reconstruction project. But a seal coat was added in August of this year because, according to MDOT project engineer Dale Mayo, the pavement “was weathering quite a bit.”
The sealant used is an asphalt emulsion, Bar Harbor Public Works Director Chip Reeves said, and process of applying it is called “fogging.”
Crews did the work at night, and the second night of “fogging” was humid. This delayed the drying of the sealant, Mayo said, leading to a slippery road surface.
“Normally it isn’t a problem for that long,” Mayo said. The slipperiness “lasted longer than it was expected to.”
Reeves said the town has since sanded the road at MDOT’s request. According to Mayo, the sand helps the surface “to get worn more quickly” and lose its slippery new surface.
Going forward, Mayo said MDOT has altered the composition of the asphalt they are using in the Route 3 construction project. “We’re using different pavement,” he said. “I don’t think that will be a problem again.”
The Route 3 reconstruction project began in Jan. 2017 and is scheduled to be completed in 2019. According to an MDOT press release, the reconstruction “will result in an improved roadway, paved shoulders for bicyclists and pedestrians, new sidewalks, upgrades of existing sidewalks to ADA standards, safer crossings with electronic crossing signs, a new multi-use path along part of the roadway, improved drainage and improvements to intersections.”
Contact MDOT at maine.gov/mdot or 624-3000.