NORWAY — The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted Thursday to withhold a vote to eliminate parking on a section of Main Street until it could determine whether the Department of Transportation would agree to lessen the restriction.

The DOT restriction also calls for right-turn-only traffic from Pikes Hill onto Main Street.

The state mandated the elimination of about six parking spaces on Main Street by the Advertiser-Democrat building, across the street from the Norway Historical Society, for safety purposes for it to issue a traffic flow permit to Stephens Memorial Hospital. The permit is necessary for the hospital to continue with construction of its $8.2 million medical office building on Pikes Hill. The building is expected to open in January and bring an estimated 800 cars onto Main Street.

The MDOT recommendation is being made to improve visibility for traffic entering Main Street from Pikes Hill.

“This was the least bad of the alternatives,” Town Manager David Holt said of other proposals to meet the MDOT required minimum 200-foot line of sight for traffic coming onto Main Street. Other ideas included making the lower section of Pikes Hill one way.

Because Main Street curves slightly in that area, it is difficult for cars exiting from Pikes Hill onto Main Street to see oncoming traffic coming from the west.

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About half a dozen residents, including members of the Norway Historical Society, Pikes Hill residents and downtown business owners, appeared at the meeting to discuss the recommendation.

Mary Lou St. John, a Planning Board and Historical Society member, asked the board to consider easing the restriction on evenings and weekends when the society had events.

Several Pikes Hill residents expressed concerns about what they consider to be a dangerous intersection for pedestrians trying to cross Main Street. Holt said the crosswalk, which runs diagonally across Main Street from the Cafe Nomad to Whitman Street, is poorly designed but would have cost several thousands of dollars more to construct properly. The state may consider that in their revamp of Main Street, planned for 2020, he said.

One Pikes Hill resident suggested that parking in front of the Advertiser-Democrat building be eliminated for vans and large trucks because of a problem he encountered with a van blocking the roadway.

Erica Jed, owner of Books N Things on Main Street, said the plan to eliminate the parking spaces by the Advertiser-Democrat building was a good one.

“I think it’s great,” she said.

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In April, the Planning Board unanimously approved, with conditions, the site plan application for a medical office building downtown. The 25,000-square foot complex is being built on an eight-acre lot purchased by Western Maine Health about seven years ago. The site is the former C.B. Cummings & Sons wood mill.

Approval was given with four conditions: a Maine Department of Transportation traffic movement permit must be obtained; a maintenance plan for catch basins and erosion control must be submitted; a sign plan, which will be approved by the code enforcement officer, must also be submitted; and the noise of the roof mechanics must comply with required maximum decibel levels.

The Planning Board had focused its attention on concerns about more traffic at the intersection of Main and Whitman streets and Pikes Hill. MDOT employees have been on site in the past month to determine how to best route the traffic, which is expected to increase significantly once the medical building opens.

As part of the project, the Ripley Medical Building next to Stephens Memorial Hospital on Lower Main Street will undergo a $1.8 million renovation and become the home of Western Maine Pediatrics. The Ripley Medical Building’s other occupants will move to the new building.

The driving force behind the expansion is a growth in outpatient care, Barbara Allen, vice president of community relations, said last year.

Western Maine Health has 12 affiliated medical entities, including Stephens Memorial Hospital.

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