Key road construction projects such as the one underway in the heart of downtown Hallowell are expected to be unaffected even though there’s political wrangling over funding for projects across Maine.

On Monday, Gov. Paul LePage delayed the sale of voter-approved bonds intended to pay for road construction and other projects. Totaling $117 million, the borrowing package includes $80 million for highway projects currently underway.

Despite that action, “there is no slowdown of any projects for this construction season,” Ted Talbot, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation, said Monday.

“For the time being, state government will use existing resources to fund key priorities, such as maintaining and improving our infrastructure,” LePage spokesman Peter Steele wrote in a statement to the media. “The Governor will continue to monitor excessive legislative spending with Maine’s bottom line and the best interest of taxpayers in mind.”

A number of projects have been planned or are underway across the region including highway preservation paving and reconstruction and bridge preservation.

In Hallowell, Water Street is undergoing a months-long multimillion dollar reconstruction to rebuild the roadway. Work started in earnest in early spring and will continue until the end of July, when there will be a brief hiatus for Old Hallowell Day. If the schedule holds, work is expected to wrap up in November.

In Gardiner, planning has been underway for more than two years on the replacement of the Bridge Street and Maine Avenue bridges, which span the Cobbossee Stream at the edge of the downtown neighborhood.

In Belgrade, a section of Main Street through Belgrade Lakes Village is slated for reconstruction this year, as is rehabilitating a three-mile section of Route 8/11.

Matt Marks, chief executive officer of Associated General Contractors of Maine, said some hopeful signs were emerging it appeared another date for issuing bonds might be identified.

“In the meantime, they’re moving cash around from other funds,” he said.

There are 352 open projects right now, he said, that are being funded through a combination of federal funds, bonding and gasoline taxes.

So far, he said, the state has spent $54 million in cash. The bonds would fund about $100 million more.

If the bond sale is executed sometime in the next month and a half, Marks said he expects work to continue uninterrupted.

“My biggest concern is these Main Street projects,” he said.

Closing them down before they are done could present safety hazards.

LePage said he was concerned about “11th-hour legislative spending,” as lawmakers now in a special session continue to work through a slate of bills left hanging when the Legislature adjourned on May 2.

The move drew sharp criticism from House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, who said the governor’s action to delay the bond sale put thousands of jobs at risk.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.