GARDINER — Highland Avenue has long been one of the most complained about problems brought to City Hall and an enemy of the alignments and suspensions of vehicles regularly traveling its cracked and potted surface, but the top city official is hopeful that it could be repaved next year.
The Maine Department of Transportation, however, is projecting it will complete paving in 2015 because the city must also do sewer and water pipe work before the transportation department repaves the road. The state added the project to its 2014 and 2015 work plan.
City Manager Scott Morelli said the city’s goal is for the entire project to be finished next year, but significant issues with the water pipes or other roadblocks could delay it.
He said Highland Avenue is in the worst shape of all the city roads and has been a common complaint in the nearly four years he’s been city manager.
“It seems like it’s been a problem forever. I think if you ask people in the community, people who drive it everyday, it seems like an eternity,” Morelli said.
Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said the department is planning to do the resurface paving in 2015, but Morelli is optimistic it can be finished next year.
The department’s portion of the project will cost $285,000, according Talbot. Morelli said the overall project costs may end up totaling more than $1 million.
About $85,000 of next year’s road maintenance budget of $125,000 will be used for debt service to pay for the Highland Avenue project, according to Morelli.