Route 232 resurfacing set for 2012 pending Legislature OK

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WOODSTOCK — Temporarily fixing the bone-jarring ride on Route 232 between Woodstock and Rumford is up to the Legislature.

But the Maine Department of Transportation won’t put the project out to bid until next year should legislators OK the department’s 2012 Work Plan, Mark Hume, MDOT regional engineer in Dixfield, said Tuesday in Fairfield.

However, rather than resurface the road with the usual 5/8ths of an inch thick maintenance pavement, Hume said “quite a heavy maintenance treatment” will instead be applied.

“I’ve saved all the old pavement from the Route 2 Bethel-Gilead project and it’s all in a big stockpile right now, and I’m going to crush it up and mix a little bit of new asphalt in with it and some cement and water to make what we call a ‘plant-mixed recycled asphalt pavement,’” he said.

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Adding cement strengthens the pavement.

“It’s like 2 percent cement, so it’s just a very little bit,” Hume said. “It helps the mixture stiffen a little bit.”

He said the plant-mixed recycled asphalt will be used to correct cross-slope problems — “the big dips and bumps that the maintenance surface treatment really wouldn’t get.”

When applying it to roads, MDOT usually lays it on at 1.5 inches thick on the center of the road.

“Of course, if we’re trying to correct cross slope, we will run upwards of 2, 3, 4 inches on the outside, depending on how bad the slope of the road is, Hume said. “It will fix things for a while.”

Hume said he intends to use the mix starting on Route 232 from its intersection in Woodstock with Route 26 “and head north until I run out of it.”

He said he believes he has enough to cover 6 miles of Route 232 into Rumford, and then will transition to maintenance paving.

A section of Route 156 in Wilton by the golf course is also included in the 2012 Work Plan for the same treatment as Route 232. 

To see this type of treatment, Hume said check the section of Route 219 from Twin Bridges to where Route 117 intersects in North Turner. That project was completed last year.

Starting in early July, Pike Industries will start the same work with the same type of mix on 5.38 miles on Route 140 from the Androscoggin River bridge in Canton to Jay.

That project will cost $1.017 million.

Hume estimated the cost of such work at $200,000 a mile, which also applies to the Route 232 project.

The Woodstock end of Route 232 needs the most work.

“The southern end is really the worst of it, so we’re going to start on that end and head north,” Hume said.

“I’ve got enough to hopefully do 6 miles. We’ll make it and truck it ourselves (from West Bethel) and we’ll hire a contractor.”

Using what’s called a “pug mill,” or large transportable mixing chamber, Hume said they can mix it at $35 a ton.

“So, it’s a big savings for us,” he said.

Of Route 232’s problems, Hume said, “It’s just old and has never been properly constructed. I’m sure the base isn’t as adequate as it needs to be.”

He said that in applying the new mix, it will delay the inherent problems from resurfacing for several years, but it won’t prevent them.

“The first time we did this was back in 2004 on Route 23 from Canaan to Hartland and it was a road that is as much like 232 is now,” Hume said.

“And just this spring, some of the bumps and cracks have started showing back up, so we’ve had real good success with it.”

Eventually Route 232 must be reconstructed, but that currently costs too much money.

“We’ve got so many roads in such poor shape, I’ll be retired before we get to them all,” Hume said.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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