Construction of Route 1 turning lanes postponed

Posted:  Friday, June 8, 2018 - 12:00pm

The state has put on hold construction of turning lanes south of downtown Wiscasset. The project, initially planned to begin this summer, includes both junctions of Route 144 and the south end of Old Bath Road.

In response to an email from the Wiscasset Newspaper, Maine Department of Transportation press secretary Ted Talbot confirmed June 7, the state is putting off the work until  fall 2019 or spring 2020.

MDOT announced the highway improvements about 18 months ago. A public hearing on the three-phase project was held in September 2016. The work includes constructing turning lanes from Route 1 onto Birch Point and Old Ferry roads, in addition to the south end of Old Bath Road. MDOT estimates between 17,000 and 18,000 motorists travel this stretch of Route 1 every day.

The turning lanes are being added to enhance motor vehicle safety ame improve traffic flow. MDOT isn’t planning to install traffic signals at any of the three locations, according to Talbot. Providing turning lanes is the simplest thing to improve traffic flow, he added.

MDOT initially planned to add paved shoulders and painted “shadow islands” to guide motorists to the planned turning lanes. Talbot stated he wasn’t aware of any changes to the engineering design presented last year.

“Each of the three projects is expected to cost $475,000 to $550,000,” Talbot said.

The town will share in the cost of two of the projects drawing from $104,000 in impact fees set aside from previous Route 1 projects. The cost won’t impact property taxes, Town Manager Marian Anderson said.