PHILLIPS — Residents petitioned selectmen Tuesday night for a public hearing on planned use of a narrow section of Reed’s Mill Road by trucks hauling gravel daily.

They said they are concerned about traffic safety, increased pollution and road repair expenses.

Reed’s Mill Road runs east from Route 4 through the old village of Madrid and extends approximately 10 miles to Route 142 in Phillips. Parts of the road are not paved and are very narrow, with room for one vehicle, petitioners stressed.

A section of it in Phillips is not open during the winter but is a popular place for snowmobilers and ATVers.

“An issue has come up in our area, and it primarily affects residents along Reeds Mill Road,” Ken Ziglar told selectmen.

Mark Beauregard of Rangeley owns a gravel pit in Madrid Township, just beyond the Phillips town line. The gravel pit is near Toothaker Pond and a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife fish hatchery.

Beauregard has asked for a Land Use Regulation Commission permit to excavate gravel, and contractors E. L. Vining and Sons and Bruce Manzer will be buying and transporting the gravel to other parts of the region.

Residents said the Reed’s Mill Road road will have to support up to 48 trucks running 12 hours each day. E. L. Vining and Sons already operates a gravel pit in the area, and that extra traffic has “caused some issues,” Ziglar said.

“I would suggest that the town could write to (LUPC) to request a public hearing, so people could be heard that do have concerns about the roads,” Sylvia Lambert of Phillips said.

Part of the road is not maintained during the winter, Ziglar said, but Beauregard has plowed that section and has been using it to bring logs and other material in and out.

When a town closes a road for the winter, Town Manager Elaine Hubbard said, no private citizen is allowed to plow it for traffic. The town currently does not post signs for weight limits, so dump trucks loaded with tons of gravel eventually would damage the road.

Pollution presents another concern. Nearby, Meadow Brook runs into Toothaker Pond and has been instrumental in flushing the phosphorus from Toothaker Pond, according to Adrienne Rollo.

“There are many brooks that go under the road and end up in Meadow Brook,” she said. “It all goes in the same watershed, and I don’t think you want to do any harm to this natural resource.”

Safety is another concern, according to Dain Trafton. The roads are very narrow with room for only one vehicle to pass.

“I think with the current conditions, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Trafton said.

A town employee’s public support for the project was questioned by petitioners.

“One of those comments in support of the project came from our road commissioner, and I don’t know if he had permission to do that,” Ziglar said.

Selectmen agreed to send a letter to Sara Brusila, regional representative for the LURC’s permitting and compliance staff. A public hearing request will be reviewed by LURC staff and the commission would decide if and when to hold the hearing.

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