NEW GLOUCESTER — Two dangerous intersections along Route 100 are slated for $900,000 in improvements to alleviate high crash rates.

A public hearing on Tuesday drew roughly two dozen residents to a public hearing held by officials representing the Maine Department of Transportation.

Brian Keezer, MDOT’s project manager, identified two intersections with high crash rates affected by sight-distance visibility, poor grading and poor angles at intersections.

The two projects involve Route 100 at the blinking light intersection of Bald Hill Road and Route 231, and Route 100 at the intersection of Long Bennett and Short Bennett Roads. The Bennett roads intersection has been the site of eight accidents with a death during the period of 2009-11, said Keezer, noting that was three times the average rate.

Proposed upgrades at the Route 231/Bald Hill Road intersection include redesigning the intersection at the Route 231 egress and access points. The roadway along Route 100 will be narrowed from its current width southbound and double flashing lights will be installed in both directions.

The site was identified as a high priority project by MDOT several years ago, but funding was not adequate to proceed.


Now the plan includes traffic calming and safety measures at Upper Gloucester including two sets of blinking lights and a reduction of the hill grade by 2½ feet from the hill’s crest to below the blinking light at the intersection to improve sight distance. However, no pedestrian lanes will be put in place because speed limits must not be higher than 35 mph. The project also required more funding than initially expected, Keezer said.

It was not clear when construction will begin, but Keezer hopes it might begin next spring and take four months to complete.

The work will include communicating with landowners with right-of-way issues, some of which will be temporary during construction, and some taking of land. The water lines of the New Gloucester Water District will be addressed by adding insulation to pipes to prevent freezing.

The plan was approved last year by New Gloucester selectmen who requested slowing down traffic along the route.

The intersection will be reconfigured to address “geographic deficiencies,” said Albert L. Godfrey Jr. of the consulting engineering firm Terra Magna Services of Gardiner.

Northbound traffic entering Route 231’s sharp turning radius will find a wider lane to accommodate trucks and traffic, while northbound traffic leaving Route 231 will also find a wide apron and turning lane to access Route 100 and cross to the Bald Hill Road.


Resident George Colby said the Bennett road intersections need serious brush and tree removal. He also said trucks need a wider turning radius on and off Route 100.

Others spoke about grading issues to make turns off Route 100 onto Long Bennett Road, because the MDOT pavement project last summer increased the height of the road.

Jean Couturier of Long Bennett Road said, ”I don’t know how many times I’ve nearly been rear-ended leaving Route 100 with traffic moving at 50 miles an hour.”

Jim Fitch, chairman of the New Gloucester Water District Board of Trustees said, “People don’t go the posted speed limits.” The plan, he said, doesn’t address the Upper Village where “we need to slow traffic down.”

“I’m an advocate of 35 mph,” Fitch said, “We are trying to create a business zone in Upper Gloucester. We found a way to put a water system in and (we’re) trying now to possibly move the town garage and make the plan into a long-term vision. This is not a thoroughfare; it’s a residential zone.”

New Gloucester Town Manager Paul First said, “Enforcement is a part, but the volume of traffic is increasing on Route 100. By cutting the hill to improve sight distance, this allows traffic to go faster.”

Truck traffic has increased along route 100, said Nancy Capps. She said, “I hear them all night long. How are you going to calm down the truckers?”

Truck traffic increases are due to drivers diverting themselves off the Maine Turnpike at Gray to avoid the barrier toll in New Gloucester, and then entering the turnpike again in Auburn.

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