The Maine Department of Transportation suspended a work permit for Summit Natural Gas of Maine for two days after discovering traffic control problems at a construction site along Route 201 in Vassalboro.

The natural gas company will be allowed to resume work again Tuesday, according to Ted Talbot, spokesman for the department.

On Friday, department staff discovered that contractors for Summit had closed a town road without proper signs or notification and were stopping traffic while loading trucks, Talbot said.

“Much like with any construction job, traffic control issues are paramount,” he said, “and when it becomes an issue for the traveler, steps have to be taken to rectify that.”

Talbot described the Sunday decision to suspend the permit until today as a culmination of concerns at a few other Summit construction sites in the region. He didn’t have any specifics of other concerns, but he said none were as severe as the ones in Vassalboro.

The president of the natural gas company said the issues at the Vassalboro site were the result of miscommunication between the contractors in the field and the transportation department.

Michael Minkos, president of Summit Natural Gas of Maine, said issues like those are not unusual for a construction project of such magnitude. Summit has around 450 people working on natural gas pipeline projects from Pittston to Madison, he said.

“The company is very dedicated to ensuring our project is built in the most safe way as possible and will commit resources to make sure that happens,” Minkos said.

The transmission pipeline being installed in Vassalboro goes from the Winslow town line to Route 201 and down to Augusta.

Talbot said the department conducts regular conference calls with executives from the company and will continue to monitor the work in Vassalboro to ensure there aren’t further problems. He said this is the first time the department has suspended a permit for Summit Natural Gas of Maine this year.

“Our expectation is that going forward, there won’t be these types of issues,” Talbot said.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]