LEWISTON — Councilors said they favored a plan to put a stoplight along Lisbon Street at Plourde Parkway instead of narrowing Lisbon Street to one lane there.

“I’ve actually heard from a lot of people,” Councilor Don D’Auteuil said. “The instant you talked about touching Lisbon Street and taking it down to one lane, nobody liked that.”

City staff said they’d take that direction to the Maine Department of Transportation.

“And we’ll see what they come back with,” City Administrator Ed Barrett said.

Engineers from MDOT outlined three alternatives to the Lisbon Street-Plourde Parkway corridor designed to make it safer and smoother. The plans could be put in place in 2015.

State officials counted 18 accidents per year along that corridor at three locations — the two ramps connecting eastbound Lisbon Street to Plourde Parkway and at the looping ramp connecting Plourde with westbound Lisbon Street.

The state’s favorite solution would be to reduce Lisbon Street to one lane in either direction between Quimby Street and the looping westbound ramp. That would give cars entering Lisbon Street a better opportunity to flow into traffic.

Councilors said they favored a plan that would eliminate the ramp connecting northbound Plourde Parkway to eastbound Lisbon Street. All traffic would continue across Lisbon Street to the looping ramp. Instead of merging with westbound Lisbon Street traffic, the loop would end in a T-intersection with Lisbon Street and a traffic light.

Public Works Director David Jones said traffic engineers usually don’t agree with putting traffic lights in heavily traveled, fast-moving streets such as Lisbon Street.

“There can be more rear-end accidents when you put traffic lights in,” Jones said.

But most councilors thought the light made more sense.

“When you drive around the different places in the state, in other states, when you get off a highway, what are you coming to now?” D’Auteuil asked. “I’m not getting off and flowing onto a road. I see more lights now. And if that’s what they’re putting up in places, that’s what we should do.”

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