China road committee discusses paving plans

by Mary Grow

China Road Committee members, plus Town Manager Becky Hapgood and Selectman Wayne Chadwick, discussed 2021 paving plans at an April 23 meeting.

Committee Chairman and Public Works Manager Shawn Reed led the discussion. He explained that China should do about six miles of repaving every year to keep up with maintenance, although, he pointed out, some roads need more frequent work than others.

Last year, he said, concerns about the impact of coronavirus on the economy meant only about four miles were done. This year’s preliminary plan includes the postponed work plus four miles, to get back on schedule.

Reed proposed continuing work on Deer Hill Road and doing most of the roads in the South China Village area. He added Arnold Road off Windsor Road, which hasn’t been done in 15 years and is “pretty broke-down overall” and Meadow Wood Drive off Arnold Road. Focusing on one section of town at a time, so that equipment needs less moving around, should help control the cost, he said.

Committee members nominated several stretches of Dirigo Road as in bad condition. They concluded about a mile of the road should be repaved, without specifying which mile.

They have scheduled a road tour beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, May 7, to come to final decisions.

At the April 23 meeting, Reed did not know how much paving mix will cost per ton this summer. That figure will impact how much the town can afford to do.

As in past years, he intended to combine bids with Vassalboro; he hoped to have them out by the end of April. Having more miles to offer is likely to generate a lower price, he said.

Reed and Hapgood said the budget voters are asked to approve for paving for 2021-22, which will pay for summer 2021 work, totals $563,250. Of that amount, $45,000 is allocated for crack sealing, striping and patching.

Reed emphasized the value of sealing cracks, as a preservative between repavings, to keep water from freezing under and breaking up road surfaces. Lane Road and Weeks Mills Road are two he nominated for crack sealing this summer.

Weeks Mills Road was returned to town maintenance from the state. Reed said the part the state rebuilt is holding up well, the other mile and a half less well than he had hoped.

He would like a one-inch overlay on the entire two miles, but recommends delay because other roads need attention first.

Another issue committee members discussed was the chip seal resurfacing used last year on South and Deer Hill roads. Reed said it is rougher than asphalt paving, and after plowing there was more slush on the surface than on asphalt. But, he said, it is holding up, and overall he is “kinda pleased.”

Chadwick and committee member Dale Peabody said the chip seal should have been swept more than once, to make it easier for motorcyclists. The need to sweep loose material into ditches makes chip seal less desirable in some areas, Reed said.

Chadwick asked whether the chip seal had been hard on cutting edges on the snowplow. Joshua Crommett, committee member and public works employee, said not enough to make a difference between one plow and another.

All States Asphalt, of Richmond, is the only company offering chip seal, Reed said. He will continue using it on Deer Hill Road if committee members approve.

Committee members did not schedule another meeting after their road tour. They hope they will not need to meet again until fall, when they start considering the 2022-23 budget.


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