Media Archive

Repairs coming for Route 6 in LaGrange

Article from Bangor Daily News, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

By Diana Bowley
Staff Writer

LAGRANGE - The camel-sized "Whale's Hump" has submerged beneath the pavement, and the huge pothole locally named "Little Joe Peanut" has been filled - over and over - but Route 6/155 in LaGrange still remains in terrible shape.

The good news is reconstruction of the road will begin next month.

The bad news is it appears the worst stretch of the east-west highway from the LaGrange end may have to wait another year.

The road stretches from LaGrange to Howland, with an X-shaped intersection in LaGrange of Routes 16/6 and 155.

Vaughn Thibodeau and Sons, the Bangor contractor that submitted the lowest bid of $5.9 million for the project, wants to start the job on so-called Big Bunker Hill at about mid-center of the approximately 10-mile stretch and work toward the Howland end, according to Jim Hosmer, the Department of Transportation's resident engineer for the project.

"They wanted to get as much done on the easy part this year," Hosmer said recently. The contractor estimates he can rehabilitate about 6 miles of the better section of the highway this year, compared to the reconstruction of only 4 miles from the intersection, he said.

If time permits this summer, Hosmer said he hoped the contractor could fix some of the bad places on the LaGrange end.

"I have identified some bad areas and hopefully these will get fixed this year," he said.

Brick Hamilton, project engineer for the contractor, said Tuesday, however, that company officials have "played around with a construction schedule" but have not presented the DOT with a final version, which he expects to do within the next week or so. The starting point will be identified then, he said.

As for identifying bad and good sections of the road, Hamilton said, "There is no good section on this roadway.

"What we decided to do this year or next year would have no bearing on the condition of the road - it's all bad," he admitted.

The road is the lifeline of residents in the region and of truckers who haul pulpwood to mills in Lincoln and Millinocket. Many truckers are avoiding the road, using Paddy Hill Road in Medford instead.The thought of having to endure another winter and spring with a washboard of a road is not appealing to local residents.

"I'm not real happy," LaGrange resident Ardys Goodine said Tuesday.

"Anyone who put some thought into something like that should ride the road or walk the road," Goodine said.

Goodine lives a mile from the LaGrange intersection and said she has watched vehicles "bottom out" on the roller coaster of a road.

"I don't know, I guess I'm just frustrated. I realize there are other roads in the state that are just as bad, but this is an east-west highway, it's traveled a lot and it's deplorable," the local resident said.

The only homes off Route 6/155 are on the LaGrange end of the highway, Goodine said. She said she has to travel over the worst section of the road five days a week to get to her job in Orrington.

"It thrashes you," she said.

Fred Weymouth, a former LaGrange selectman who lobbied hard for years to get the road improved, said he is pleased the project is finally going to start this year. He said it was initially included in the DOT's 2002 work plan and it should have been completed then. Weymouth said the state spent too much time repeatedly studying and surveying the road, which delayed the project.

Weymouth praised Jerry Waldo, DOT's regional supervisor, who he said did his best to hold the road together over the past year. Waldo spent considerable resources and time having the road patched and ditched to make it as passable as possible, Weymouth said.

Both Weymouth and Goodine hope the contractor does some work to ease some of the troublesome spots on the LaGrange end.

For those who think LaGrange residents are just a bunch of whiners, Goodine offered an invitation.

"Come out and ride the road," she said.

"Content above originated in the edition noted as a copyrighted article and is posted here with permission of the Bangor Daily News."

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.