LEWISTON — Despite early concerns about traffic headaches stemming from Sunday’s long-awaited Dempsey Challenge, authorities throughout Androscoggin County reported that more than 3,500 cyclists and runners hitting the pavement didn’t disrupt life in the Twin Cities.

“There were no issues at all. It was great,” said Lt. Michael McGonagle. “Traffic wasn’t held up at any given time more than 10 to 15 minutes.”

McGonagle said that timing for the event worked out very well with the city’s church schedule, which was one of the biggest concerns. He said that because the race ended up starting about 20 minutes late, parishioners were already at Mass by the time the cyclists went past and racers were long gone by the time Mass let out.

McGonagle credited volunteers with helping make the day roll as smoothly as it did. He added that motorists were also very patient with the event, which raised more than $1 million for the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center. 

“The volunteers were really helpful. They did an excellent job answering questions from motorists and manning intersections that didn’t have police officers,” McGonagle said.

Both Auburn and Lewiston had seven extra police officers per department on duty for Sunday’s event. Lt. Michael Lemay of the Auburn Police Department said there were no issues on his side of the river, and Dispatcher Ryan Guay of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office said the event was very well-planned on the part of local authorities.

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