For Immediate Release
Contact: Maria Fuentes, 207-622-0526; 207-592-0227
Worst Road winner proves bad Maine roads can be painful
Carol Kelley of Waldo is the winner of the second annual “Worst Road in Maine” contest, announced Maine Better Transportation Association (MBTA) President Randy Mace.
Mace said that Kelley’s entry – Routes 131, 137 and 141 in Waldo County – and the words of her disabled son, Michael, made the judges take note. “Her son, she wrote, has a spinal rod and his shouts of pain when she hits a rough patch are her ‘gauge’ for road conditions,” said Mace, announcing the contest winners and runners up. “The Kelley family’s story is a powerful one and a reminder of just how much bad roads affect the lives of many Mainers.”
There were twice as many entries compared with last year’s contest, according to MBTA Executive Director Maria Fuentes. Kelley’s entry took first prize. Ten other entries were singled out as among the worst roads in Maine, representing roads in Aroostook, Cumberland, Hancock, Lincoln, Kennebec, Sagadahoc and Washington counties. Fuentes said bad roads are a significant and growing problem for Maine residents and businesses.
“The truth is bad roads cause a great deal of pain – whether it is physical, financial, greater safety risks, lost mobility or business opportunity. Bad roads have a profound effect on our daily lives,” said MBTA Executive Director Maria Fuentes.
For her winning entry, Kelley received a $250 check for car repair – the amount the average Mainer pays in added vehicle maintenance costs due to bad roads. Still, the Kelleys’ repairs have not been typical. Carol said her family has spent $1,100 to add special springs to the van to help ease Michael’s ride. They also requested that Michael be transferred to a high school on a better road in a different town (he graduated from Belfast Area High School this spring after Kelley entered the contest).
This year, two of the roads on Carol Kelley’s list of Waldo County bad roads were slated by MaineDOT to receive maintenance surface paving, so many of Michael’s rides around his hometown have improved. “Routes 131 and 137 are much better, but Route 141 is still pretty rough going,” said Kelley.
Maine has some of the worst roads in the country, with thousands of highway miles built in the first half of the last century that have not been modernized. This August, The Road Information Program released a report that placed Maine’s rural roads as the 14th worst in the nation and its rural bridges are the 12th worst. This year, Maine “skinny mix” paved more than 620 miles of Maine’s worst roads, some that had been nominated in this year’s contest. The state is able to reconstruct only 28 miles of highway this year.
“Skinny mix is a last resort for many of these roads that are literally crumbling in front of our eyes. MaineDOT deserves credit for knowing which roads are the worst ones and for stretching a dollar wherever they can. But we really need to be reconstructing these roads to modern standards with better drainage and improved safety. Otherwise they will just be back on everyone’s ‘Worst Roads’ list in just a few years’ time,” said Mace.
The problem is funding. Maine is spending $220 million less in capital highway investments during the current two-year work plan than it did in 2010-2011. “While MaineDOT receives strong grades nationally for efficiencies, we are limiting their ability to make important safety improvements by decreasing funding while costs are going up,” noted Mace. He added: “And the federal government is certainly not stepping up.”
FixMaineRoads.org and the “Worst Road in Maine” contest are part of a public awareness campaign by the MBTA. For more information on MBTA’s advocacy efforts to promote safer, more efficient transportation in Maine, visit www.mbtaonline.org
2011 WORST ROAD IN MAINE CONTEST WINNERS
1st PRIZE: Route 141 near Swanville and Belfast, Carol Kelley
2nd PLACE: West Street in Princeton, Donna Melanson
3rd PLACE: Route 105 from Windsor/Somerville to Washington, Laura Hall
RUNNER UP: Castine Road / Route 166 from Orland to Castine, Alic Albright
RUNNER UP: Route 161 in St. Francis, Polly Hafford
RUNNER UP: Route 127 from Woolwich to Dresden, Alvin Moore and Larissa Kothenbeutel
RUNNER UP: Route 46 in Holden, Linda Trenholm and Robert Bolton
RUNNER UP: Route 113 in Stow, Cynthia Layne-Butters
RUNNER UP: Route 114 from Sebago to North Standish, Michael Anderson
RUNNER UP: Washington Street in Waterville, multiple entries
RUNNER UP: River Road, Windham, multiple entries