Around the Region

Route 15 crowned ‘Worst Road in Maine’

Route 7
 in Dover-Foxcroft
makes runner-up list

Contributed Article

    AUGUSTA — Gabriel Zacchai, a resident of Camden who wrote about a harrowing trip on Route 15 from Blue Hill to Stonington this spring, is winner of the Worst Road in Maine Contest.

    Seven other entries for roads in Rockwood, Sullivan, Oxford, Dover-Foxcroft, Harrison, Madawaska and Unity were awarded runner-up certificates.
    “As a 42-year-old native Mainer, I can say with absolute certainty that this is the worst paved road I have ever tried to move a car over in my life. I thought the front end of the car was gonna come off!” wrote Zacchai in his official entry.
    The Camden National Bank employee and musician, who frequently is on the road for his job as facilities specialist for the bank, had been contemplating entering two other routes he frequently travels: Old County Road in Rockland and Route 131 from Belfast to Appleton. But he became convinced that Route 15 was the worst when he had to make a trip to Stonington to deliver equipment to the local bank branch.
    As the winner, Zacchai gets a certificate for $296 worth of auto repairs, which the Maine Better Transportation Association (MBTA) estimates that the average driver pays extra each year toward vehicle maintenance due to road conditions.
    Nancy Godfrey of Dover-Foxcroft. who talked about an expensive vehicle repair bill, was awarded one of the runners-up certificates.
    “My disabled Marine vet husband and I were driving to town and a truck passed us going the opposite direction and towing a trailer,” Godfrey write. “A piece of the road actually came flying up at us and got embedded into our radiator! We ended up having to be towed to the Jeep dealer in Newport where it sits now waiting for an insurance adjuster to look at it.
    Godfrey said that her insurance policy has a $500 deductible “and now have an expense we weren’t planning for! This road also has several bad bumps, including three that have signs and many more that don’t!”
    “We know this road is bad because we had more than a dozen entries come in for Route 15,” said MBTA President Jim Hanley. “And Gabriel’s entry really highlights the problems that bad roads cause Mainers every day. Research shows that the average Maine driver pays an additional $296 every year in extra vehicle maintenance due to rough roads.”
    The problem is funding. MaineDOT estimates that the state needs to spend an additional $110 million a year to maintain its road and bridge system, some of which needs major improvements.
    “We are caught in a bad cycle that, at best, means we only have funding to fill the potholes on so many important regional roads like Route 15,” said Hanley. MBTA’s research shows that Maine’s federal funding for roads is decreasing as vehicles become more fuel efficient, and the state currently has no alternative funding in place. “We have got to make roads a bigger priority because it is hurting our economy,” added Hanley.
2014 Worst Road in Maine Contest Winners
1st Prize: Route 15, Blue Hill to Stonington — Gabriel Zacchai, Camden
Runners Up:
Route 15, Rockwood — Lisa Hargreaves, Wiscasset
Route 183, Sullivan — Bruce Munger, Sullivan
Route 121, Oxford —Amy Brousseau, Mechanics Falls
Route 35, Harrison — Angela Maddocks, Harrison
Route 7, Dover-Foxcroft — Nancy Godfrey, Dover-Foxcroft
Mill Street, Madawaska — John Young, Madawaska
Stagecoach Road, Unity — Robin and Ed Coffin, Unity.

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