Vehicles line up Tuesday on state Route 219 in Turner to cross state Route 4. The intersection is the site of numerous serious crashes. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

TURNER – The Maine Department of Transportation has invited members of the public to weigh in on proposed changes to the intersection of state Routes 4 and 219 in North Turner this month.

MDOT has designated the four-way intersection, with Route 4 going north-south and Route 219 going east-west, a high-crash location every year since 2003 except 2010-2012. Route 4 is also known as Auburn Road and Route 219 as Bear Pond Road heading westbound toward Hartford and Howes Corner Road heading eastbound toward Leeds.

A high-crash location is an intersection or section of a highway or road that has had at least eight crashes during a three-year period. It must also have a critical rate factor above one, which is a calculation MDOT uses to determine the safety of a location relative to similar locations throughout the state.

From 2020 until now, there have been 11 crashes at that intersection, as of the latest data from MDOT. Of the four other high crash intersections in Turner identified for the current three-year period, two have had more crashes. The Route 4/219 intersection, however, has the highest injury rate of all intersections, with more than half of drivers or passengers injured in the crashes.

“We’ve modified this intersection numerous times to address safety issues, adding island and turn lanes,” MDOT senior project manager Rhobe Moulton said in a presentation recorded earlier this year.

“Most recent was adding turn lanes and flashing beacons around 2010 to 2012. Because there are still safety issues to be addressed, our safety office has put forth this project,” she said.


The project, first proposed in February of this year, would shift Howes Corner Road slightly south to make the intersection three-way. The section of Howes Corner Road that currently intersects with Route 4 from the east would become a dead-end to maintain driveway access there, project engineer Clark Sulloway said during the preliminary presentation.

Raised medians would be added to Route 4 on the northbound approach and in front of Bear Pond Variety, which is on the northwest corner of the intersection. All northbound traffic to or from Bear Pond Variety would need to use Trask Road instead of a direct turn onto Route 4.

Traversable concrete medians and dedicated left-turn lanes would also be added to each of the three approaches of the intersection. Trask Road would also have a dedicated northbound turn lane.

The formal plan, posted to MDOT’s virtual public involvement website this month, included some changes to the preliminary plan. Most significantly, the Route 219 west approach, or Bear Pond Road, was shortened by 100 feet so that the existing guardrail will not need to be replaced. Highway lighting will also be added to all four approaches to the intersection to improve visibility.

The project is currently in the plan impacts portion, which is set to end this month. The right of way process with abutters should begin in late spring of 2023, Moulton said. Advertising will begin in early 2024 with construction to begin later that year.

This is one of several MDOT highway improvements projects in the town of Turner. As part of a major statewide project, the traffic signal at the intersection of Route 4 and Snell Hill Road, by Hannaford, would be updated. Statewide construction is scheduled to begin next fall and go through December 2025.

The other major project that MDOT has proposed is safety improvements to the Route 4 and state Route 117 intersection. As of the latest update earlier this fall, MDOT proposed adding a traffic signal there, which was met with concern from town officials and some residents.

Town manager Kurt Schaub sent a letter on behalf of the board of selectmen to MDOT officials last month reiterating those concerns. The town has yet to receive a response, Schaub said Tuesday.

Public comments on the Route 4/219 project are open now until Nov. 21. For more information, visit

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