April 05, 2020

Houlton councilors hear concerns about unpaved Cook’s Brook Road

HOULTON – At first glance, the Cook’s Brook Road looks like many other roads in town.

Houses and mailboxes dot the roadsides, and stately trees with fiery red, tangerine and rust colored leaves scuttle down from tree branches and onto the roadway in the fall.

But when you pull your vehicle onto the street that is located just off Drake’s Hill, you hear a subtle crunching beneath your tires. At nighttime, the only light on the road comes from a vehicle’s headlights and the occasional porch light.

The unlit rural, dead-end road is not paved, nor does it have any sidewalks. Now, some believe that needs to change. At a recent Town Council meeting Jim Bledsoe, a resident of the street, asked for some upgrades.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Bledsoe told the board that he felt that the road should be paved and lighted, and asked the town to help make that happen.

“The Cook’s Brook Road is a part of Houlton,” he told the board. “Why can’t the taxpayers of the road be treated fairly? … I can’t see why I can’t even get a streetlight on that road.”

Bledsoe reminded the board that he pays the “same tax rate” as people who live on other paved roads in town.

The town keeps a master plan of what road projects, such as paving and rebuilding, need to be done. The Cook’s Brook Road is slated to be updated to a paved road, but not for several more years.

Councilor Paul Cleary acknowledged during the meeting that the board had dealt with concerns about the road in the past.

“Maybe we can look at pushing this forward to paving this road,” he said.

Councilor Gerald Adams said that he had driven on the Cook’s Brook Road several times and said that he was “sympathetic” to Bledsoe’s concerns.

“I can promise you as a councilor that I won’t stop until I see something done,” Adams told Bledsoe.

Town Manager Douglas Hazlett said Tuesday that he already had taken steps to see what the town could do to improve the route.

“It will be hard to get it paved next year,” Hazlett admitted, adding that the town would have to rebuild the road in order for it to meet specifications before it could be paved. “It is certainly going to be one of our top priorities.”

The issue of lighting, however, is not as complex, according to Hazlett.

“That is something we are going to try to move on in the near future,” he explained. “Putting lights up on that road would not be that expensive.”

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