LISBON — A repeating cycle of freezing, thawing and raining this winter has caused major problems with the roads in Lisbon and throughout the state.

“Every town’s got the same problem right now,” Public Works Director Randy Cyr told the Town Council on Tuesday evening. “The water gets in the cracks and, as you know, when it freezes, it expands, so it pops it up from the bottom. And then it thaws, and more water gets underneath and that pops it up some more. It’s a chain reaction.”

Cyr said it will be challenging to complete the many road repairs because work starting in May, a limited annual budget of $425,000, and the deadline of Oct. 31 to ensure projects don’t get started too late.

Complicating the situation is the backlog from last year, when projects slated for November were not completed because of an unusually early cold period, Cyr said.

One road was prepped for paving and then it rained, he said. After the rain, it was re-prepped for paving, and then it froze, which also excluded the possibility of paving. Then paving plants were shut for winter, leaving the project incomplete.

In addition, many of this year’s road projects will have to follow those to replace sewer lines, a major project itself.

A few council members noted the frustration of residents with the condition of the roads.

“I think we can all appreciate if you’re driving to and from, and you have three different ways to get there, and they’re all a mess, it makes it tough to look at your tax bill,” council Chairman Norm Albert said.

Another point of pressure is getting on the list early with contractors, because the demand for projects across the state is especially heavy now.

“Nobody who drives on the roads right now doesn’t see what the weather’s been doing to the roads,” Councilor Fern Larochelle said.

“We’re trying our best” to keep the roads patched, Cyr said. The department has used around nine tons of cold patch to fix cracks and potholes over the winter, he said.

Cyr also pointed to the longer-term lack of maintenance of the roads as another cause of the problems being seen on virtually every road in the town.

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