Route 27 rebuild through Kingfield will include sidewalks

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KINGFIELD — A proposed $5 million highway construction project through downtown will cost taxpayers an estimated $147,000, most of which has been set aside in reserve accounts.

Road Reconstruction Committee Chairman David Guernsey told selectmen Monday night that the most recent details of the rebuilding of Route 27 will include new sidewalks and repairs to deteriorated sidewalks. The town will not lose parking space, but the new downtown will enhance pedestrian access and safety. Many of the older sidewalk sections and pedestrian crossings do not meet minimum standards for the Americans With Disabilities Act. Sidewalks should be 5 feet wide and continuous, so that anyone with a physical handicap could walk the length of Main Street or travel in a wheelchair without hindrance.

A section of the sidewalk in front of the Herbert Grand Hotel will be rebuilt to enable those with physical limits to avoid street traffic. That cost to build what Guernsey described as an esplanade, will require the town to pay approximately $4,000 but will bring the town into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Maine Department of Transportation will pay $4,523,000, Guernsey said, to rebuild the highway. For the new sidewalk sections, it will pay $400,000 and will require the town to pay $100,000. New sidewalk costs are the town’s obligation.

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The town has funded reserve accounts that will cover projected costs for new parking and sidewalk construction.

“All curbed sections within the boundary of the eligible Historic District, extending along Route 27 from High Street to Norton Bridge, will utilize granite curb,” Guernsey said.

Granite curbs are more durable and will be easier for plow trucks to maintain during the winter. All sidewalk sections outside the boundary will be tarred with bituminous curbing.

The Road Reconstruction Committee, Guernsey said, along with other community improvement volunteer groups, have spent many hours to ensure that the project will be as organized and efficient as possible.

“There are things that we just won’t know about that will come up, but this most recent draft will help people understand what the options are,” he said.

The committee will host public hearings in the future to show residents where each modification and new addition will be, and he hopes people will share their ideas and possibly suggest thoughts for landscaping.

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