A concept design shows several changes in store for the traffic pattern on Route 4 in Auburn.

AUBURN — Transportation officials are seeking public comment on an ambitious plan to revamp a section of Route 4 in Auburn between Oak Hill Road and Lake Auburn.

According to a virtual presentation by staff at the Maine Department of Transportation, the project will widen the road and install a median from Oak Hill Road to the Lake Auburn boat launch, create “jug handles” for left turns and build a bicycle and pedestrian trail along the lake.

The safety project includes the intersections of Route 4 and Turner Street, Lillian Street, Oak Hill Road, Martin Street, Fair Street, and the public boat launch at Lake Auburn.

It also includes the causeway north of the boat launch, featuring the bicycle and pedestrian path along the lake, which will be separated by the road with a guardrail and chain-link fence.

A new sidewalk will also connect the municipal beach to the bridge on Fair Street.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall or early winter of 2021, and completed by the end of 2022. It’s expected to cost roughly $3.2 million, with the state picking up 10% of the costs, the city of Auburn paying 10%, and the Androscoggin Transportation Resource Center paying 80%.

A preliminary meeting was held in November 2019, and officials said issues identified after studies were high traffic volumes and travel speeds along Route 4, coupled with poor access to side streets.

Engineers on the project said while the posted speed limit on the section of Route 4 is 40 mph, actual speeds are closer to 60 mph. The lack of left-turn protections led engineers to design the “jug handle” ramps, which allow motorists seeking to turn left to use a right-hand ramp to more safely access the intersection.

The public meeting on the project is being held virtually, with those interested asked to view the project details, video explainers, and submit public comment on a MaineDOT virtual platform.

Access to the public meeting is available through the project website at www.mainedot.gov/vpi with opportunity for public comment.

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