Casco Board: Fix those roads

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The list of roads in need of repair is as long as a drive down them feels: Swerving bumps, bouncing, braking, and anticipating the next stretch of good pavement.

Town Manager Dave Morton has a list of roads that could use some simple repairs.

However, “simple repairs” are not inexpensive in the world of infrastructure upgrades.

On July 15, the Casco Board of Selectmen gave Morton the go-ahead to hire contractors to do road improvements that fall below the $8,000 range.

This means that the board would forego the bidding process unless the project promised to cost more than $8,000. Instead, Morton would do a site walk with at least three local contractors; and then choose the less expensive route for the road repairs.

“These are normal maintenance projects brought up over time,” Morton said.

Selectman Grant Plummer suggested that Morton first get cost estimates on the most expensive projects,

“The ditching of Stone Road, and the ditching and culverts on Edwards Road: Those are the two biggest dollar value projects,” Plummer said.

“Your brief write-up is a good description” of what the road projects entail, he said.

“I am saying experiment with a couple of the higher-priced ones” to see where those road maintenance projects fall price-wise, Plummer said.

Selectman Ray Grant agreed.

“Let’s try the two higher (priced) ones,” Grant said.

Chairman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes said she would like to see some bids.

Morton responded, “I need to give all three people the same construction job. When I talk to any contractor, I get a verbal estimate right away.”

Later, he asked the board if there was a monetary threshold — a dollar amount that would be okay to go forward with, without using the formal bidding process.

Fernandes suggested $5,000.

Morton said that amount would not go very far. Then, he asked the board members if they were comfortable with the $7,500 to $8,000 range, and anything over that would go out to bid.

The selectmen settled on that amount, and did so without voting.

Prior to coming to this agreement, Selectman Paul Edes expressed his concerns about Pine Hill Road, which has been washing out under the pavement.

“Paul (Edes) is right about Pine Hill Road. The ditch needs work so it doesn’t undercut the embankment,” Morton said.

Morton — who also serves as road commissioner — said there was some good news about this decade’s roadwork. The latest models of plastic culverts have a longer life than those used in the past.

“All of these projects need to happen. I think all of these projects can happen within our maintenance budget,” he said.

 

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