PARIS – Board members from EnterpriseMaine and local town managers told state Department of Transportation Commissioner David Cole on Tuesday what highway projects they’d like to see funded in the near future.

The draft list includes the stretch of Route 26 in Poland from Route 122 to just before Poland Regional High School; in Oxford from Burlington Homes north to the Abattoir Bridge; and in Oxford, turning lanes in front of the Oxford Hills Business Park at Number Six Road and Route 26. It also includes Route 117, from Norway Lake toward Harrison and a turn lane where Route 117 and Route 118 meet at Norway Lake.

On Routes 117 and 118, the board would like to see turning lanes for the Western Maine Office Park, and a pedestrian bridge and trail enhancements for the redevelopment of the former C.B. Cummings & Sons dowel mill in downtown Norway.

On Route 302, which runs through Naples, Bridgton and Fryeburg, the board would like to see the state study long-term capacity of the highway and look at safety and congestion issues.

“This is a draft. We want to know from the community what other projects are important,” said Barb Olson, vice president of EnterpriseMaine’s Growth Council of Oxford Hills.

She said Cole was impressed by the efforts of town officials and economic development leaders to prioritize projects within an entire highway corridor.

“He said two or three times it was important to take a community approach,” Olson said.

The Tuesday meeting was preliminary to a transportation summit that’s planned for this fall, said Olson, when DOT officials will seek input on which regional projects to include in the next budget of the Biennial Transportation Improvement Program.

The program will be presented to the Legislature in January 2005 and will cover projects that will be done from July 2005 to July 2007.

“We’re in the project solicitation phase right now,” Olson said.

Cole reported that bids are going out this week on the long-awaited reconstruction of Streaked Mountain Road, or Route 117, from Paris to Buckfield. Olson said construction should start in the fall.

Another long-anticipated project, the Maine Turnpike bypass in Gray village, should begin in the spring of 2006, Olson said.

Local pilot Mark Bancroft, president of Bancroft Contracting in Paris, asked Cole about sources of funding for an automated jet fueling system at Oxford County Regional Airport in Oxford. Cole requested more information and told Bancroft he’d look into it.


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