Citizens Urge Highway Repairs
CARMEL – Hundreds of residents packed a public hearing Monday to complain to Department of Transportation officials about the condition of Route 2, as if the churning gears of bureaucracy might shudder to a halt just become some old farts wandered out of their trailers to bitch and moan for a few minutes.
“I have to drive in the middle of the road to avoid busting a rim,” said Merle Swanson, 74. “Do we have to wait until somebody gets killed before this gets taken care of?”
The DOT callously ignored residents’ concerns by promising to fix major portions of the road this year.
“We expect to begin repairs this August,” said DOT spokesman Eric Thurston, without even a hint of contrition in his voice. “We [do not] understand the urgency of this situation.”
Town Manager Tom Richmond said he has grown tired of listening to people howl about the potholes, ruts, and cracks that dominate the main thoroughfare through town, and frustrated that the DOT apparently has no interest in rectifying the situation anytime soon.
Richmond had several signs erected along the roadway encouraging residents to call the DOT office and the governor’s office to make their voices heard. “Maybe they’ll get tired of hearing about it, too,” he said. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
So far, that axiom has not held up in this case, as the department sent only three representatives to Monday’s hearing, and they did not bring the heavy equipment necessary to begin work instantly, as many locals had hoped.
“People complain about a lot of roads throughout Maine, especially this time of year,” said Thurston, “but we simply don’t have the budget to instantly fix every frost heave or every ten-mile stretch of crumbling pavement with potholes the size of lunar craters.”
Budgetary constraints may prevent workers from resurfacing all the areas that need it, but DOT officials expect to repair the most-traveled sections of Route 2 by fall.
“We prioritize the roads that get used the most,” Thurston explained. “That’s why most roads in Southern Maine are silky smooth, while Route 16 in Old Town, for example, regularly launches cars traveling faster than 25 m.p.h. into the Stillwater River.”
DOT officials promised to take residents’ concerns “under advisement,” but their words rang as empty and meaningless as Lauren LePage’s résumé.
Still, townspeople maintained hope that their words might somehow sink into the conscience of these pampered bureaucrats.
“I think they felt our wrath a little bit,” said Steven Parker of Cook Road. “If we keep on ’em, they might get around to taking us seriously sometime before I die.”