FARMINGTON — Joan Walton had a mission when she asked the Maine Department of Transportation to consider continuing the middle turning lane from near Burger King on the Wilton Road straight through to Intervale Road.

There’s no sidewalk and no shoulder in places, making the four-lane road unsafe for bikers and pedestrians, she said she told the department about Routes 2 and 4, also known as Wilton Road.

Dennis Emidy, MDOT traffic engineer, attended a meeting of the Farmington Transportation Advisory Committee on Thursday to discuss a road safety audit.

“It’s a real issue that’s not going away,” Walton, community and regional transportation planner from Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, said. “What can you do for us?” she asked.

Emidy said he would listen and “let the data show the way.”

He said he wants to start by looking at the pattern of crashes in the corridor from Wilson Stream up to Center Bridge, with plans to return to the committee on Aug. 28 with the crashes mapped out.

“The first aspect is safety,” he said. The traffic count on the four-lane road is about 22,000 vehicles a day.

Traffic study work is expected to take place in Farmington in September.

Walton asked for a full study that includes more details on vehicle counts and speed.

Emidy asked committee members to identify places of concern on the road. 

Members quickly named several, including left turns into VIP, Palmer Realty, Irving, Hannaford, Whittier Road, Red Schoolhouse Road and Oakes Street.

At the intersection of McCrillis Corner Road and the Wilton Road, young drivers coming from Mt. Blue High School can have difficulty seeing oncoming traffic, members agreed.

The suggestion to reduce the road to two lanes with a turning lane in the middle and lane on the side for pedestrians and bicyclists raised concerns.

“I don’t see it working because of the traffic volume,” committee Chairman Lloyd Smith said.

As a logger, a stop at the Hannaford traffic light means a slight hill to overcome as he restarts driving west, he said. It takes him from the light to Labonville to get the truck back up to 30 mph in the 40 mph zone, he said.

“There’s a lot of truck traffic,” he said.

A similar idea was “overwhelmingly rejected by citizens” in 2006, committee member Dennis Pike said.

A study from Hannaford to Walmart was undertaken and a suggestion to create an alternate through-road on the west side of Route 2 was considered, he said.  Money was an issue and one landowner wouldn’t give permission.

Emidy agreed to start by looking at the traffic data and safety.

When Smith asked if there was enough room to do something without buying more land, Walton assured him buying land wasn’t the answer; there’s not a lot of money so the fix would have to involve what’s there.

The committee meets monthly to discuss transportation issues such as highway safety, traffic management and road improvements and makes recommendations to selectmen.

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