NEW GLOUCESTER — The Maine Department of Transportation is planning to reconstruct the intersection of routes 100 and 231 and town officials want a say in the project.
Project Manager Shawn Smith of MDOT said by telephone on Wednesday the $600,000 funding plan is considering cutting the Route 100 hill to improve visibility and resolve multiple safety issues.
After meeting with the town planner and several members of the Upper Village Master Planning Committee, Smith said his agency is reviewing input by the group that includes a letter from the chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Steven Libby.
On Sept. 17, Libby sent a letter to Smith after meeting with Town Planner Paul First and Upper Village Master Planning Committee members Sam Coggeshall and Donald Libby.
"Our understanding is that DOT is proposing to cut the hill north of the Route 100/Route 231 intersections," Libby wrote. "While this step would increase site distance at the intersection, southbound speeds along Route 100 would also increase.
“Currently southbound traffic reduces speed as it approaches the intersection.New Gloucester selectmen are concerned about Route 100 traffic speed in the Upper Village.The area has been designated a growth area by the town.We are currently developing a master plan for the area and planning to install public water during the summer of 2013.The Upper Village is currently zoned Village and Residential Commercial.”
Libby said in his letter that additional traffic safety concerns exist just to the north, at the intersection of Route 100 and Upper Village Street.These include poor access control, a skewed intersection and no means for pedestrians to cross Route 100 in the business district.
An alternative plan submitted by Libby shows a second project alternative asking Smith for help to ensure that both MDOT and community needs are met at an affordable cost to the state.
That plan calls for a sensor activated light with a turn lane at Upper Village Road and Route 100, a bypass of the blinking light at the top of the hill and a closure of the Bald Hill Road at the Route 100 intersection.
Smith said MDOT engineers are reviewing the town’s request to determine feasibility and safety.
Smith said after the review by his department, an answer to town officials by the end of October is expected.
A public informational meeting with residents in the area and interested parties is planned by MDOT in early 2013, Smith said.