KINGFIELD — Project Manager Rhobe Moulton told residents Thursday night, May 2 that a proposed 2.33-mile road reconstruction project on Route 16 and 27 is not among those recently cut by the Maine Department of Transportation.

“We are in the final design phase of this project,” Moulton said. “It is currently funded at $7.2 million through the U.S Department of Transportation Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Discretionary Grants program. We are very lucky to have federal funding in place for this project.”

Projects in Woodstock and Fryburg are also funded through the grant, she said.

Reconstruction will begin at the southern intersection of High Street and continue approximately three-quarters of a mile northerly of Tufts Pond Road, she said.

The project will address safety concerns such as widening travel lanes to 11 feet, adding five-foot shoulders and constructing ADA-compliant sidewalks, said project designer Dana Pride.

Improved drainage, additional ditching, and new catch basins will address drainage issues, she added.

Concerns raised by residents during a June 2016 meeting over the removal of a historical watering trough and significant reduction of village parking spaces were taken into consideration, Pride said.

A historic watering trough at the intersection of Route 27 and Depot Street in Kingfield will not be affected by a Maine Department of Transportation road reconstruction proposal. Franklin Journal photo by Dee Menear

“We will not take away the monument,” she said. “Instead of losing eight of the current 40 parking spaces, we have redesigned the plans and you will only lose one.”

An alignment shift in the roadway will preserve a historic stone wall on the southern end of the project. Another shift will be made near the center of the project in order to reinforce the bank along the Carrabassett River, she said.

The next step in the process is acquiring property rights, either through purchase or easements, said appraiser Brian Sanderson. Affected property owners would be sent a certified letter outlining the process, he added.

Several residents raised concerns over safety, speed, traffic noise and snow removal.

John Goldfrank noted painted crosswalks fade each year and do not survive the winter. “Have you given consideration to a stamped crosswalk,” he asked?

Moulton said crosswalks stamped into the tar do not hold up very well. A raised crosswalk alternative would mean more noise from passing trucks, she added.

“Typically, municipalities are responsible for painting sidewalks each spring,” she said. “We are adding pedestrian crossing signs to make the crossings more visible.”

“But we have a historic village,” said Goldfrank. “We have to be careful that we don’t clutter it up with road signs.”

Goldfrank also asked if parking would be considered public or private. When Moulton confirmed parking would be public, Goldfrank asked who would be responsible for signage to indicate village parking was public.

Moulton stated that would be up to the town.

Jim Benoit said he was concerned about the possibility of losing a lilac hedge he planted between the road and his home. He added the project would move the pavement and curb to within 8 feet of his home.

Janet Peruffo of Carrabassett Valley reviews proposed plans for an upcoming Route 27 road reconstruction project in Kingfield. Franklin Journal photo by Dee Menear

“We put that in for a sound buffer,” he said. “If we lose it, the truck traffic would really affect us.”

Following the meeting Benoit explained the hedge consists of 26 lilacs that were planted 30 years ago as a sound buffer to deaden traffic noise.

“We are going to do all we can to save the lilacs,” Moulton said.

“I am concerned about the noise, too,” said Mike Spardello. “I’m also concerned a smooth road is just going to be able to make traffic go faster.”

There is funding available for radar activated lights to warn drivers to slow down, Moulton suggested to Town Manager Leanna Targett.

Benoit was also concerned snow removal would cause snow to be built right up against his home as well as others in the narrow corridor.

Plow operators would have to carry snow ahead to where it could be pushed off the road, Moulton said.

Moulton said comments would be considered during the final design.

The project is expected to be advertised in the fall of 2020, Moulton said.

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