By Amanda Johnson


NORWAY—It’s a bumpy ride across Norway with many roads in poor condition, but those driving down Route 118 will eventually find a smooth ride ahead—despite a recent stall in a project that means to repair it.

For the past few weeks, the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) has been working on Route 118 in North Norway on what project manager Doug Coombs calls “a rehabilitation project.”

The project began on the official contracted date of June 9, Coombs said, though it came to a halt following heavy rain last week, which washed out roads in Rumford and forced Coombs’ crew to leave its work in North Norway to assist.

“Because of the washouts we had to pull the crews out and send them there because it was an emergency,” he said by phone on Tuesday. “That’s why it was a little low on action last week.”

Apart from helping out Rumford, the same crew has been doing other work.

“We continued to work on that area but we were also working on a job out in Harrison,” said Coombs. He said the job was being done with DOT Region 1, which focuses on the southern region of the state.

The work that DOT is doing on Route 118 involves laying down asphalt, paving and shaping the eight-mile stretch of road.

“This job is a rehabilitation,” said Coombs, adding that the state has planned the project for about three years. “It’s been getting worst and worst over time.”

He said that the recycled mix that is laid on the road adds shape to it so that it doesn’t crown. Indeed, a woman who lives off the road said that her car slipped off of it in snowy conditions four times last winter because it peaked in the middle and sloped down on the sides. The crew is also adding gravel to the shoulders of the road and overlaying the road with about two inches of a hot mix over the top.

“We use a recycled asphalt product that the state produces,” Coombs said.

Apart from work on the road itself, the DOT is also adding culverts and fixing guardrails around the road. Coombs said that the road is estimated to be completed in three weeks. The workers are currently ahead of schedule on paving, he added.

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