With the latest round of freeze and thaw wreaking havoc on Maine’s roads, the Maine Better Transportation Association has announced it is accepting entries for the 2011 Worst Road in Maine contest. The contest will run throughout Maine’s notorious pothole season. That is when drivers have to dodge frost heaves and potholes or risk damaging their vehicles.

“This is the time of year that we really notice just how bad our roads are. We will be accepting entries at least through the end of April. That’s when the ground typically dries out and road crews can get to work repairing the damage,” said MBTA Executive Director Maria Fuentes. Mainers can find contest rules and fill out an entry form at either FixMaineRoads.org or facebook.com/FixMaineRoads.

“We know bad roads are a concern for a lot of Mainers, because last year’s contest definitely hit a nerve. There is a lot of frustration about this,” said Fuentes. Fuentes predicts that this year’s contest will be another good one because, if anything, many of Maine’s roads are in even worse condition. Maine, in fact, has some of the worst roads and bridges in the region: 26 percent of its federal-aid highways have poor pavement. Maine’s bridges, too, need attention and 34 percent of the state’s bridges are deficient, compared to a national average of 25 percent.

Entrants in the 2011 “Worst Road in Maine” contest should supply a photo of the bad road and a 200-word or fewer description of why the road is so bad and what effect it has had on them, their families and businesses. The grand prize winner will receive a gift certificate for $250 worth of car repair — the amount a recent study by The Road Information Program found Mainers pay in additional vehicle maintenance due to poor roads. The contest will end May 15 at midnight.

In addition to paying more in vehicle maintenance, there are the societal costs of bad roads: increased safety risks, reduced mobility and lost business opportunity. Last year Martha Jordan won the top prize when her entry, Route 219 from Turner to Leeds, was crowned “Worst Road in Maine.” Jordan sent in photos and told a compelling story about a bent rim, busted tire, lost wheel bearing and $1,000 repair bill. The MBTA named several runner-up winners, as well, representing bad roads throughout the state.

To enter or for more information about the contest, visit FixMaineRoads.org and be sure to “Like” the Fix Maine Roads Facebook page (facebook.com/FixMaineRoads).