Fryeburg Fair to put Route 302 work on hold


“Be patient – it’ll be nice when we are done," — Denis Lovely, MDOT Senior Project Manager

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

Tens of thousands of Mainers take the trip to the Fryeburg Fair, and they have no alternative other than taking Route 302 to get there.

Getting to the fair can be hectic enough without facing obstacles on the road that slow down the journey.

The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) is well aware of this fact.

Therefore, the road construction between Bridgton and Fryeburg on Route 302 will come to a halt during the Fryeburg Fair, which means there will be no road closures during that time.

“It is in the contract that the contractor will shut down Oct. 2 through Oct. 9. There will be no work being done,” according to Denis Lovely, MDOT’s Senior Project Manager in charge of construction support.

The MDOT project will cost about $11 million, he said.

The road construction project began in the midsummer last year, and it will be wrapped up by June 16, 2017, Lovely said.

“It’ll take two years to build, and it was three years in the design” phase, he said.

The state job was awarded to Alvin J. Coleman & Son, Inc., out of New Hampshire.

Drivers who in recent months have taken Route 302, also known as Roosevelt Trail, from Bridgton to Fryeburg or vice versa may have encountered road closures or driven over really rough patches of road.

The poor condition of the road was caused by “a lack of good base and good drainage,” Lovely said.

When water did not drain correctly, it would seep under the asphalt, he said. When the water froze, it created heaves in the road and every time a vehicle hit a heave, the road got worse.

“It is a vicious circle,” Lovely said.

Now, the road “is starting to look good, it’s starting to take shape. It has been a little rough on everybody, but we are getting there,” he said.

“Most of the people driving through there have been great — not too much cussing or cursing,” he said.

The total project length is nine miles, from Sweden Road to Stanley Hill Road.

The end result will be a two-lane highway with a few passing lanes along the way, Lovely said.

There are two sections under construction. The area closer to the Moose Pond Causeway is getting shimmed, followed by a surface layer. The shim is the layer of asphalt that evens out the road; and it varies in thickness from ¼ inch to 2 inches. The surface paving job uses about 1¼ inch of asphalt.

Meanwhile, the MDOT project calls for full construction for the section between Stack Em Inn Road in Bridgton and Stanley Hill Road in Fryeburg.

“They are tearing up the road and putting down a new gravel base — a couple feet of gravel. That road had no base underneath,” Lovely said.

MDOT Project resident Katherine Gray said different activities were taking place this week on the two construction sites.

“For the rest of the week, they are doing driveways,” on the section of road near the Moose Pond Causeway.

“Once we pave the surface, we do a minimum of three feet of pavement — that is just for the overlay,” she said.

The full road construction is taking place this week near the box culvert, she said. The section under construction right now is “from about a half-mile past Punkin Valley Restaurant and Motel to Keene Lane,” Gray said.

“There will be a couple spots where it will be reduced to one lane,” Gray said. “As much as possible, we will try to keep two lanes open.”

Once the Fryeburg Fair ends, road construction will resume, according to Lovely. MDOT has set a surface paving deadline of Oct. 15. There is a date of Nov. 15 for putting down base and binder, he said.

“Anything after Nov. 15 will be temporary pavement,” he said.

Depending on the weather, the crews “will work as late into the fall as they can. They can work during the winter, doing work on the sides of the road,” Lovely said.

His words of advice for the public: “Be patient — it’ll be nice when we are done.”


Please follow and like us: