NEWRY – Work may soon start on the delayed Skiway Road reconstruction project.

Selectmen met Monday afternoon to discuss the project with Sunday River Ski Resort engineer Joseph Aloisio, whom they hired in March to assemble a bid package for the project.

The board fine-tuned a contract proposal from excavation contractor Steve Swasey of Andover before two of Newry’s three selectmen present – Chairman Stephen Wight and Jim Largess – made it official by signing the document. Selectman Wendy Hanscom was absent.

Wight said Swasey will begin excavation work Monday, July 14, and possibly culminate by September.

The project involves a complete reconstruction of a one-mile stretch of the heavily traveled Skiway Road between Sunday River Inn and the ski resort’s South Ridge Base Area.

Voters at the March 1 town meeting agreed to raise $384,000 to complete the work after selectmen based the amount on quotes from Bethel and Scarborough contractors. In the months that followed, however, the board chose instead to put the project out to bid once selectmen understood the scope of work involved.


Town clerk given certification

BETHEL – Town Clerk Christen Mason received word last week that in October she would be awarded lifetime certification as a certified clerk of Maine.

Mason has been Bethel’s clerk for the past 10 years. She started working for the town as its deputy clerk then became head clerk seven years ago, she said.

“It’s a three-step process to be certified as a clerk, but after 10 years and a certain amount of classes, you can apply for lifetime certification,” said Mason, who will receive the certification at the annual meeting of the Maine Towns and City Clerks Association in Augusta this fall.


Main Street

rail crossing fixed

BETHEL – Rather than wait for the state and a railroad company to repair the collapsed railroad crossing on Main Street, Bethel officials resolved the chronic problem last week.

“We now have the best crossing in Maine. It’s brand new,” said Town Manager Scott Cole. “It was in poor condition for a long time, but the state and the (St. Lawrence and Atlantic) railroad had neither the time nor money to do it.”

Cole said there are 680 railroad crossings in Maine and each crossing has a 20-year life span before repairs must be done by both the railroad company and the Maine Department of Transportation.

“At the current level of funding, they would have to do 33 per year to keep up, but they’re now only doing 10 per year, so we said we’d help financially if they do the crossing. We had to put our money where our mouth was,” Cole said Friday afternoon.

That involved paying between $10,000 and $12,000 for four days of work rather than wait for the state and railroad to come up with the money. However, the town also had crews clean up the area, put in some green space and added parking, putting a total price tag of $20,000 on the project.

The project, however, was not without problems.

“It was a challenge because of changes in elevation. We dug out the old ties and put in good gravel and ground up the old pavement going out 20 to 30 feet in each direction and then put thicker pavement in. The state DOT helped shoot the grades,” Cole said.

Contractor Bruce Manzer did the paving work.

“This has been a chronic problem for several years, because the ties you don’t see, decompose over time and things settle and collapse, making it a hard crossing. We had it ready to go last fall, but time ran out,” Cole added.

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