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2011 Worst Road in Maine winners released

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Maine's roadways leave a lot to be desired, as the Maine Better Transportation Association (MBTA) found out during its “Worst Road in Maine” contest. The 2011 contest saw twice as many entries as compared to last year, but it was Carol Kelley's painful commute along Routes 131, 137, and 141 that was selected as this year's winning entry.

"Her son Michael, she wrote, has a spinal rod, and his shouts of pain when she hits a rough patch are her 'gauge' for road conditions," said Randy Mace, president of the Maine Better Transportation Association (MBTA).

As this year's winner, Kelley received a $250 check for car repairs, which is the amount the average Mainer pays in added vehicle maintenance costs due to bad roads. However, the Kelleys spent much more than that. Over the summer they paid $1,100 to have special springs added to their van to help ease Michael's ride. And since the contest, two of the roads on Carol Kelley's list of Waldo County bad roads received maintenance surface paving, which has also improved the Kelley's commute.

"Routes 131 and 137 are much better, but Route 141 is still pretty rough going," said Kelley.

"The truth is bad roads cause a great deal of pain whether it is physical, financial, greater safety risks, lost mobility or business opportunity," said MBTA Executive Director Maria Fuentes. "Bad roads have a profound effect on our daily lives."

Maine's deteriorating roads are so bad that The Road Information Program placed the state's rural roads as the 14th worst in the nation and its rural bridges as the 12th worst. Mace says the cause of problem is funding.

"We are limiting the MaineDOT's ability to make important safety improvements by decreasing funding while costs are going up," Mace said. "And the federal government is certainly not stepping up."

Donna Melanson received second place in this year's Worst Road in Maine contest with her submission of West Street in Princeton while third place was awarded to Laura Hall for her entry of Route 105 from Windsor/Somerville to Washington.

“We really need to be reconstructing these roads to modern standards with better drainage and improved safety," Mace said. "Otherwise they will just be back on everyone's 'Worst Roads' list in just a few years' time."

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