PARIS — The Paris Board of Selectmen are already thinking about spring road repair.

At a town of Paris Board of Selectmen meeting Monday night, the board was presented a list of roads in dire need of care. Paris Interim Town Manager Dawn Waisanen said she compiled the list with the help of the Highway Department as a starting point for spring repairs.

The board agreed that the three roads needing immediate attention were Paris Hill Road, Twitchell Road and Christian Hill Road.

“I know a lot of residents came in last year and complained about Twitchell Road,” Waisanen said during the meeting. “Everybody on that street voiced concerns.”

“I don’t even know if it’s a road anymore,” said Selectman Scott Buffington said.

Although roads in desperate need stuck out, Selectman Chris Summers said every road on the list needed attention. “Every one of these is well and truly past where it ought to be,” said Summers.

Waisanen said not much money was carried over from last year’s road budget, and the current budget for town road upkeep was $900,000.

Summers suggested putting all of the needed repairs into a single package for construction companies to bid on, and allow the town to pick and choose what roads ended up getting repaired. Selectman Scott Buffington suggested keeping the overall constraints of the budget in mind for repairs and bidding, and smaller costs like engineering fees.

“If we only have a million bucks to spend on roads, we don’t want to spend $30,000 dollars in engineer’s fees,” Buffington said.

However, Waisanen and Town Secretary Elizabeth Knox suggested that engineering fees might not be as expensive as suggested; the roads selected are mostly rural, and won’t need as much engineering — crosswalks and intersections — as the more pedestrian-populated roads.

Waisanen said the next step was putting the bidding packages together to get a better idea of how much money the town might need, or have left, once the roads were addressed.

Selectman Gary Vaughn Sr. suggested selecting the top five or six roads in the most dire need. “I daresay, if you pick out five or six of those, it will eat up our budget,” he said.

Waisanen also announced the hiring of a new, full-time highway department employee.

Guy Whittington, a Maine DOT employee, also updated the board on crosswalk light placement on ongoing road projects, including a “mill and fill” project on Porter Street, and the ongoing Billings Bridge Project.

Summers suggested a crosswalk on Western Avenue, so students could safely cross to Oxford Hills Middle School without fighting traffic.

Vaughn mentioned adding a sidewalk on the left side of East Main Street, near the First Congregational Church.  Whittington said adding sidewalks pose a challenge due to land rights, and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for ramps and landings.

Whittington said if, during the process of working on a road, the DOT couldn’t “turn a blind eye,” and were obligated to meet ADA requirements, and landowners own the space directly behind the sidewalk, somewhat tampering the ability to build crosswalks and curbs.

 

 

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