WINTHROP — Ryan Chamberland understands that Memorial Drive is a lakefront road, but after only two months, he expects the new pavement still to be in place.

It’s not just the pavement at issue, however; he thinks the road needs to be reconstructed with a solid foundation and better drainage.

“There are five to six spots where the water will cascade across the road,” he said during a drive along the scenic roadway.

“Water drainage will always be an issue with this topography,” said Sarah Fuller, chairwoman of the Winthrop Town Council.

Memorial Drive follows the southeastern edge of Maranacook Lake, sometimes quite close to the water, at the base of high ground. Washout is a recurring problem, including recently, when flowing water became thick ice.

“I saw an older woman drive across the ice and lose control of her vehicle,” said Chamberland, as he pointed to a hill where a large ice block had formed in the woods.

Chamberland, who has lived on the road for eight years, said he broke the frame of his plow when hitting a bump, and a generator fell out of the back of someone else’s truck.

“And speed doesn’t account for the road conditions,” he said.

An engineering study on the road, much of it built where an old trolley line used to be, brought a list of recommendations and repairs that would be needed.

“It didn’t indicate complete reconstruction was advised,” Fuller said. “These items from the study are in various stages of completion based on staffing, equipment and paving schedule.

Barbara Walsh, a Memorial Drive resident, said it’s dangerous for motorists and the many joggers, walkers and bicyclists who use the road for recreation.

Other Memorial Drive residents felt Chamberland and Walsh’s frustration, and they initiated a conversation with the Winthrop Town Council at its January meeting. Because of an impending storm, Public Works Director Matt Burnham was unable to attend the meeting, and councilors invited the residents to the February meeting to continue to the conversation.

“Since the town has faced multiple budget crunches over the past several years, paving budgets in general have taken a large hit,” Fuller said.

A sign on Memorial Drive in Winthrop calls attention Thursday to the pavement hazards there. A resident claims that the road along Maranacook Lake is deteriorating and the town is not maintaining it properly.

In late 2016, Winthrop experienced a large revenue shortfall caused by a mistake the previous year that consisted of a revenue item counted twice in the school budget. That resulted in the town not being able to raise enough money to cover its costs.

“We’re slowly catching up on the backlog of roads that need repair,” Fuller said.

Memorial Drive was paved on Nov. 26, 2018, Chamberland said, adding, “and it was snowing.”

“The onslaught of winter weather earlier than expected caused numerous delays and less than optimal paving conditions on Memorial Drive,” Fuller acknowledged.

“We already see some areas that will need to be fixed before the finish layer of pavement can be applied,” Winthrop Town Manager Ryan Frost said.

He said a public works crew will be maintaining the road to fill in potholes that develop.

“We will not truly know the full quality of work until warmer weather arrives in the spring,” Frost said.

The town contracted State Paving Inc., to undertake the work. Fuller noted the town had worked with the company on previous projects with good results.

She said the current top pavement layer is not the final coat. A determination of the pavement will be made in the spring.

“We fully recognize the condition on the repaved portion is not ideal,” Fuller said.

Chamberland acknowledged that it’s tough to manage money.

“We will need to raise taxes,” he said, adding that he hopes the town would break out a “bond to fix the road so it’s done right.”

“It feels like we’re an afterthought,” Chamberland said.

The Winthrop Town Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Town Office, at 17 Highland Ave.

Abigail Austin — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @AbigailAustinKJ

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