PARIS — The town may consider reorganizing its ambitious 11-year road improvement plan to use less expensive materials and fill some gaps in the current plan. 

At a meeting Tuesday, Town Manager Amy Bernard told members of the reconvened Road Committee that the current road plan only calls for paving roads with 9mm “hot top” asphalt, the best, but also most expensive option.

The committee, which drew up the plan along with former Town Manager Phil Tarr and engineer Rob Prue, submitted its proposal to the selectmen in 2012.

It outlines road projects to be completed every year until 2022. It was designed as a comprehensive way to address the poor condition of many of the town’s roads and streets. 

The plan calls for the town to spend between $386,000 and $521,000 a year on road projects. Most years fall in the $450,000 to $480,000 range. 

Bernard encouraged committee members to attend a presentation from a Maine Department of Transportation representative on alternative paving work materials scheduled for December. The Board of Selectmen is also expected to attend the presentation. 

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The town may need to take a closer look at its timeline for roadwork, Bernard said. As written, the plan calls to base pave several roads, including Elm Hill Road, but not put a surface layer on for several years.

If a surface layer isn’t put on after one year of freezing and thawing, said Highway Director Dan Nowell, the porous base layer could fracture and crack, essentially wasting what work was already put into the road. 

In a phone interview Wednesday, Bernard said Elm Hill Road was only one of a number of roads in the plan that are scheduled for base paving without surface paving the next year. In general, the town may need to rethink which roads it works on, she suggested.

As reported in the Advertiser Democrat last week, Prue, the road engineer, said he never prioritized roadwork or saw a final version of the road plan. Some residents have complained that the town’s plan delays acting on roads that are in dire need of work. 

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