MINOT — Selectmen on Monday asked Town Administrator Arlan Saunders to contact the town attorney for advice on the procedure for abandoning a section of Joe Town Road.
Saunders told the board he had attended a conference on bridges last week, and in a discussion with state officials it became apparent state officials had no record of Minot having a bridge on Joe Town Road.
State officials, Saunders said, somehow got the idea that Joe Town Road had been abandoned around 1994 and were quite surprised to learn the town built a bridge where Joe Town Road crosses Bog Brook.
Because of its length it not only needs to be listed with Maine DOT but also the federal government, Saunders said.
The bridge needs to be inspected and load-rated, with a sign posted stating the maximum load it can hold, he said.
Selectmen said that in the 1990s, the town replaced a bridge damaged by high water with a fairly substantial bridge, even though it was a bridge to nowhere.
The town considered abandoning the road from a point somewhat to the Route 124 side because it was only going to be used by a property owner who had a hayfield on the far side of Bog Brook.
“That bridge never should have been built,” Selectman Dean Campbell said.
Joe Town Road is a seasonal road, Saunders said, with the town responsible for summer maintenance only.
“The bridge is a real white elephant,” Saunders said. “If we don’t do something, it will bite us.”
Saunders said he would contact the town attorney to suggest the town consider abandoning Joe Town Road where the paving ends at David Elliot’s place and handing the bridge over to the owners of the land to either side of it.
The declaration of road abandonment can only be made by a vote at town meeting.
Highway Supervisor Scott Parker reported that all the plow gear has been installed on the trucks and they are inspecting them all for the winter.
Washburn & Son finished piling winter sand on Monday, and, according to Scott, the crew will be covering it with the tarp Tuesday.
Saunders also reported he had a quote from Collette Monuments on straightening, repairing and cleaning stones at the Center Minot Hill Cemetery. He said he will seek quotes from a couple other vendors.
He said it appeared that the reason that stones in that cemetery have so many more problems compared to those in Riverside Cemetery likely is because of the amount of clay in the soil. Riverside is practically all sand.
Selectman Eda Tripp, who annually takes on the task of preparing Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for people, reminded that she is collecting donations of food and goods and money. She said she expects to prepare about 18 or 20 baskets for each holiday. People wishing to help can contact her at the town office.