Transit officials consider alternatives for a downtown L-A interchange.

AUBURN – Transit officials will look at even more options for a possible second Lewiston-Auburn turnpike exit after Wednesday night.

A group of about 20 people from Lewiston, Auburn and Greene met with Androscoggin Transportation Resource Center officials Wednesday to discuss ways to tie downtown Lewiston-Auburn more directly to the Maine Turnpike.

Don Craig, director of the center, said serious discussion had focused on three areas along the turnpike’s swath between exits 12 and 13.

“We gave them a quick update on where we’ve been and then asked where they thought it should go,” Craig said. “We asked them what problems they see and what suggestions they have.”

The center has been studying the need for a new turnpike interchange since last fall. Craig said the center will file its study with the Maine Turnpike Authority and the Maine Department of Transportation later this fall, recommending one location. The state will study environmental impacts of that site and should make a decision in about a year, he said.

So far, the center has focused on three sites – River Road in Lewiston, Route 136 north of the turnpike in Auburn and Main Street in Auburn.

“One suggestion that came up Wednesday is to look in between Main Street and Route 136,” Craig said. “We would have to build a road connecting the two if we did. But we’ll look at it to see if it’s viable.”

Craig said Wednesday’s meeting also pointed up the need for a new bridge between Lewiston and Auburn.

“We had a couple of people mention that no matter where you put the interchange, you’re going to need a new bridge between the two,” Craig said. “That’s something else for us to think about, and there was some discussion about whether we could build it in parts – do the interchange first, for example, and then build the bridge.”

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