BIDDEFORD — Think your street or road is the worst road in Biddeford? If so, city officials want to hear from you.
Of course, there are as many opinions as to what constitutes a bad road as there are flavors of ice cream. Is it the one huge crater of a pot hole that just will not stay repaired, no matter how often crews fill it? Is it a stretch of “washboard effect,” roadway, jarring a motorists’ nerves as well as rattling his or her vehicle? Is it a combination of factors?
City officials have designed a contest, to be followed by a poll, to decide the city’s worst street or road, and if Biddeford Question 2 passes at the Nov. 3 election, the winner will be among those selected for paving.
At the election, Biddeford voters will be asked to support two bonds, totaling $17.5 million, to address longstanding maintenance needs for city facilities, sewer systems, as well as streets throughout the community.
If voters approve Biddeford’s Question 2, there will be $3.75 million in funds available to improve roads, sidewalks, and drainage systems. At least half of the $3.75 million in road improvement funding is destined to help fix longstanding paving needs on residential streets, said Mayor Alan Casavant.
As to the contest, residents who believe they live or travel on the “worst road in Biddeford” are asked to nominate the road on the city website at www.biddefordmaine.org/2020bonds by Thursday, Oct. 15. Staff will review the nominations and then create a poll, allowing residents to then select their top choice out of five of the worst roads.
The road with the most votes in the poll by Nov. 3, Election Day, will be named “Biddeford’s Worst Road” and will be guaranteed to be paved if voters approve Biddeford Question 2, said Casavant.
“For the past several years many of the annual paving projects were to improve Biddeford’s main roads. We’ve asked voters to support this bond so that we can begin to address less-traveled streets that are now in need of significant attention,” he said.
Findings from a 2019 assessment by StreetScan, a software tool that assesses the condition of roads and sidewalks, shows that it would take $33 million to update all the city’s roads, and an additional $12 million to address sidewalks.
“We are very aware that even if this bond passes, we still won’t be able to immediately fix every street in the community that needs attention,” Casavant said. “This contest is a great way to hear directly from our residents about the problems they would most like to see fixed with the limited funding we would have available.”