Heavy rain caused a culvert to fail on Route 6/Route 15 in Jackman, causing part of the road to wash out and forcing authorities to close it to traffic. The Maine Department of Transportation said Tuesday that the closure results in a 143-mile detour for vehicles, mostly commercial trucks. That traffic must head south on Route 201 for about an hour and then turn onto Route 16 in Bingham. It’s not clear how long the Jackman road may be closed. Photo courtesy of Maine Department of Transportation

JACKMAN — One of the main routes in Jackman was closed after heavy rains washed away a portion of the road, forcing a detour of more than 140 miles for some motorists, the state Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

Two days of rain caused a culvert to fail along Route 6/Route 15, known locally as Long Pond Road, and part of the road was undermined and washed away.

The 143-mile detour to get around the closure requires that drivers go south on Route 201 to Bingham and then take Route 16 to Abbot to reconnect to Route 6. Long Pond Road typically serves about 800 vehicles a day, most of which are trucks, according to a news release issued by DOT.

There are private roads and logging roads in the area that local drivers can use, according to DOT spokesman Paul Merrill. But the detour advertised by DOT is meant to follow state roads that can accommodate the weight of commercial vehicles.

Merrill said he didn’t think the detour is the longest the state has seen, and said that when officials are looking for detours in the northern part of the state, on roads that can support heavy trucks, the routes can get exceptionally long.

“Unfortunately, it is not terribly rare for a detour for heavy vehicles to be lengthy, especially in the far reaches of the state,” he said.

There wasn’t a clear timeline Tuesday on when Long Pond Road will reopen, but it could be days or weeks. Because the road is only partially washed out, it is possible that the rest of the road could still be used, in which case its reopening could happen sooner rather than later. But on the other hand, if the culvert is heavily damaged, there could be a delay in getting a new one, extending the closure.

The culvert is a corrugated metal pipe that is 54 inches wide and 80 feet long. When the water recedes, the DOT will examine the pipe and plan the next steps to restore traffic through the area.

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