Town seeks MDOT partnership

TREMONT — A section of the Tremont Road from the Tremont Consolidated School to Burnt Hill Road would be rebuilt if a partnership agreement between the town and the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) gets approval.

Town officials have applied for the transportation department’s Municipal Partnership Initiative program, under which the MDOT reimburses towns for up to 50 percent of the cost of an approved road project. Final approval could come as late as July, according to Greg Johnston, the town’s engineer for the project.

At the selectmen’s Feb. 6 meeting, Mr. Johnston brought them up to date on the project. Following his presentation, selectmen 4-0 voted to have town manager Millard Billings look into options for the town to finance its share of the estimated $900,000 cost.

Mr. Johnston was optimistic about the project getting the nod from the MDOT. The project would link MDOT’s completed Cousins Creek reconstruction with the replacement of the Clark Bridge, he said.

As proposed, a sidewalk and bike lane would be built alongside the .4 mile section of road. The sidewalk would connect to the east with the proposed sidewalk for the new bridge then with the town’s future sidewalk to the Flatiron Road.

Mr. Billings told selectmen he thought it prudent to explore financing opportunities at this time and not wait until the project is approved.

Keith Higgins, the town’s fire chief, was at the meeting and questioned the need to build sidewalks near the school when, he said, the school doesn’t encourage students to walk to class. The expense is unnecessary, he argued.

“It seems like we’re building a sidewalk to nowhere,” he said.

In response, Mr. Billings cited the town’s comprehensive plan, which specifically supports building sidewalks and bike lanes.

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Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander