AUBURN — A state engineer said Tuesday a stretch of Route 4 where a three-car crash Monday sent two people to the hospital has a history of accidents.
And just north of the Lake Shore Drive turn, nearly twice as many accidents have occurred.
Maine Department of Transportation traffic engineer Bruce Ibarguen said officials logged nine accidents at the Lake Shore Drive area on Route 4 from 2007 to the end of last year. That didn't include Monday's accident or the one that happened last weekend.
A quarter-mile stretch of Route 4 north of that intersection has seen 17 vehicle crashes during the same period, Ibarguen said.
He lives in the region and is familiar with that segment, having driven Route 4 often.
"That whole section has had a number of crashes, indeed, in the last several years," he said. "Clearly, there's a pattern of crashes just north of there." Ten of those crashes took place near Roy's All Steak Hamburgers and Golf Center, Ibarguen said.
No fatalities were recorded at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Route 4 over that five-year period, Ibarguen said. Only one accident resulting in serious injury happened during that time and five involved only property damage, he said.
No information about the seriousness of the accidents north of that intersection on Route 4 was available Tuesday, he said.
Monday's accident involved a northbound car on Route 4 attempting to turn left onto Lake Shore Drive, police said. A section of Route 4 south of there was changed to add a left-turning lane to the center of the road.
Ibarguen said an analysis of the roadway by state engineers would have to be initiated at the city level.
"There's no plan currently to make modifications to Route 4 in that area," he said.
MaineDOT spokesman Ted Talbot said the state typically would respond to the city's request for a traffic study or to explore options for reducing the number of accidents there, such as signs, traffic lights or striping.
No such request had been made by the city, Ibarguen said.
If a request were made, the existing conditions would be assessed, including crash reports. If a pattern were to emerge, measures addressing that pattern would be considered, he said.
Such an analysis could reveal a problem with driver behavior rather than road condition, Talbot said.
"There are times where we do the studies and take no action," he said.