FARMINGDALE — A combined $294,117 in roadwork contracts have been awarded by town officials, but the town’s backlog of roadwork remains long.

On Wednesday, the selectboard awarded a job for ditching and culvert work on Carriage Trail Drive to Sidney-based CCC Construction based on an $8,650 bid. CCC Construction were the only bidder.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, the selectboard awarded bids on two projects for a combined sum of $285,467.50. The bigger of the two, resurfacing a portion of Northern Avenue and resurfacing at the Hallowell-Litchfield Road Fire Station, was awarded to Pike Industries based on a $262,767.50 bid. The second, slip-lining a culvert at 40 Easy St. so water will easily pass through, was awarded Lewiston-based St. Laurent and Son Excavation, Inc. based on a $22,700 bid.

Five jobs, including replacement of some cross pipes along Northern Avenue and drainage work in Hayford Heights, were put on hold Wednesday while town officials determine how much money is left in the budget for work. According to Wednesday’s meeting’s agenda, the lowest bid for the Hayford Heights project was $156,181 from Minot-based Pratt and Sons, Inc. West Gardiner-based McGee Construction bid $237,366 for the same job.

Selectboard Chairwoman Nancy Frost said the selectboard may reduce the Hayford Heights project’s scope of work to cut costs, so it may have to go back out to bid.

At this year’s Town Meeting the town appropriated $325,000 and received $24,764 in local road assistance for highway maintenance. The town also appropriated $10,000 to a reserve account for highway drainage, $10,000 for highway-related engineering and $34,915 from surplus funding to a bond to pay for work on Northern Avenue.

Before Wednesday’s meeting, Assistant Town Clerk Natalie Jackson said there were questions of how much surplus funding was available for roadwork, but did not know any figures. Town Clerk Rose Webster, who Jackson said would be able to answer funding questions, was on vacation and not available for comment.

Frost announced the other three of the five deferred projects would be put back out to bid in the winter, with an eye on getting them done next spring. Those three projects are:

• ditch and culvert work on Adams Street

• cross pipe and culvert work on Blaine Road, Harwood Road and Upper Bowman Street

• cross pipe and culvert work Littlefield Lane and Upper Ryder Road

More projects are still in the works. Bids are expected to be returned for ditch work on Outlet Road on Sept. 11. A catch basin collapse on Park Street is still being engineered. The selectboard planned a workshop to work on project scopes of work at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Road Commissioner Steve Stratton said Wednesday before the meeting that he knew some jobs would have to be held off of the summer schedule as soon as he saw this year’s budget. Stratton also said he was worried about jobs getting done before winter. When asked why the bids were coming so late in the season, Stratton said it was the board’s decision and not his.

“I knew right from the start that some of the (jobs) that wouldn’t get done,” he said. “I have no authority with the money.”

Frost, who was also worried about jobs not getting done before winter, said the bids came in late simply because the selectboard didn’t advertise the jobs quickly enough. Despite contractors packing their schedules early in the summer, Frost said the prices on these jobs do not appear to be higher than market-rate.

“We just kept hemming and hawing (about what was) more important,” she said. “We were just trying to decide how to do Northern Avenue — (about) what was going to be the best bang for our buck.”

In August 2018, the Kennebec Journal reported that Farmingdale officials were working to address a backlog of roadwork due to faulty planning, conflicts between the selectboard and contractors and a lack of bids.

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