FARMINGTON — Selectmen agreed informally Tuesday evening to delay the state’s repair of a stretch of U.S. Route 2 running through town in the face of a possible scheduling conflict with Summit Natural Gas of Maine.

The four attending members of the five-member Board of Selectmen agreed to postpone the Maine Department of Transportation rehabilitation project, originally scheduled for 2016, so the installation of a proposed gas pipeline would not damage the road soon after paving.

Town Manager Richard Davis said while he reluctantly recommended postponing the state’s construction work, the town had spent $21,000 so far this year patching the well-traveled road.

“Because of the volume of traffic, we have a hard time getting patches to stick,” he said.

While the stretch of U.S. Route 2, also called Wilton Road, is a state route, it lies in a zone where the town is partially responsible for some maintenance such as patching, while the state is responsible for capital improvements such as paving.

Davis said the town will need to budget additional money for patching in the meantime to keep the road maintained until the state can rehabilitate it.

Selectman Michael Fogg said the road’s potholes are a problem for residents who use the road now, while the proposed pipeline is still in the negotiation stage and might take years to be built.

“What you do know is you need the road and you’ve got DOT in line to do it,” he said.

Chairman Ryan Morgan said he lives on Wilton Road and understands the repairs are an immediate concern, but he recommended waiting for the pipeline, a project county officials have worked hard to bring to the area.

The proposed pipeline through Farmington still is being negotiated between Summit and the University of Maine at Farmington, the company’s largest potential customer. The university issued a statement announcing its intent to negotiate for gas, but the two entities have not entered an agreement officially.

The pipeline project would be separate from the $350 million gas project already underway from Richmond to Madison.

The proposed Franklin County pipeline could connect Jay, Livermore Falls, Wilton and Madison, though no formal pipeline path has been announced.

Franklin County leaders have been lobbying for natural gas for several years, and in the beginning of talks with the company, Summit officials estimated work could start on a pipeline this year. A company official now says work would be more likely to start in 2016.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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