Depot Street in Unity, the notoriously suspension-shredding shortcut from northbound Route 220 to Unity town center, was recently resurfaced with a smooth coat of asphalt. The improvement was part of 48 miles of maintenance paving done by the Maine Department of Transportation in a 13-town area, according to spokesman Mark Latti.

Town officials had argued for a complete reconstruction of the road, Latti said, but the cost was deemed prohibitive. Reconstruction, like the work currently under way on Route 1A in Ellsworth, costs from $1 million to $3 million per mile, he said, as compared with a total cost of $1.9 million for 48 miles of maintenance paving.

“So there’s a huge cost difference in those two types of treatment,” he said.

MDOT’s 2010-11 Capital Work Plan describes maintenance paving as “a holding action until roads may be funded for reconstruction or rehabilitation.” The surface is intended to last from four to six years.

The Work Plan provides $36 million for approximately 860 miles of maintenance paving between July 2009 and June 2011. Latti said MDOT did around 400 miles in 2010, and that due in part to the small amount of snowfall last winter, the department has more money this year for maintenance paving than in 2010.

Major repaving projects in Waldo County include the resurfacing of the Route 1 bypass in Belfast, repaving of portions of Route 1A in Stockton Springs, Prospect, Frankfort and Winterport, highway reconstruction in Brooks, the rehabilitation of Route 137 in Belfast and Waldo, and bridge replacements in Belfast, Monroe, Searsmont and Swanville.