A Skowhegan Highway Department grader and plow truck work side by side in 2019 to scrape snow in both lanes on Madison Avenue following a snowstorm. The Board of Selectmen has sent a letter recently to the Maine Department of Transportation to remind state officials that Madison Avenue is in “terrible condition” and urge the state agency to move up its timetable for paving it. Morning Sentinel file photo

SKOWHEGAN — Selectmen sent a letter recently to the Maine Department of Transportation asking it to move up its timetable for paving one of the main avenues through town because of its “terrible condition.”

Selectmen wrote that U.S. Route 201, also known as Madison Avenue, is in poor shape, particularly its southbound lanes.

Repaving the road had initially been scheduled for 2021, but was later pushed back to this year, the letter reads.

But MDOT in January released an updated three-year work plan that did not include the Madison Avenue project. Town officials are urging the state agency reconsider.

“This section of the road is now falling apart,” the Select Board wrote in the letter. “We are dealing with daily complaints from residents whose vehicles are being damaged on this road.”

One of 25 photographs the Skowhegan Board of Selectmen has sent to the Maine Department of Transportation to illustrate the deterioration of Madison Avenue. Provided by Christine Almand/Town of Skowhegan

Town Manager Christine Almand said the town sends crews to Madison Avenue almost every day to fill potholes with cold patch asphalt. On top of labor costs, she said the town has already had to spend $3,510 this year on the repair material, and expects to have to pay several thousand dollars more in coming weeks.

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“We’ve gone beyond maintenance,” Almand said. “It honestly just needs to be paved.”

She said almost as quickly as crews lay down the asphalt, it is worn away by passing vehicles. The avenue each day sees a heavy volume of truck traffic, particularly heavy logging trucks, that increases wear on the road, she said.

A spokesman for MDOT was not available last week to comment on whether the project is being reconsidered.

Almand said she does not yet have an estimate for the cost of repaving the road, which would “depend on how much (MDOT) is willing to do.”

While MDOT is set to do work on other roads, including Commercial Avenue and Water Street, over the next few years, Almand said, “We certainly can’t wait for what looks like a three-year work plan that doesn’t include this project.”

The Select Board’s letter echoed Almand, reading, “We feel a real emphasis needs to be placed on this project to ensure the safety of all concerned.”

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