Lights, cameras, action: State checks downtown traffic signals

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 8:15pm

The traffic signals on Route 1 in downtown Wiscasset were tested Wednesday morning, Oct. 30 to make certain they were in sync with one another, communicating with Augusta, and that the pedestrian crosswalk signals were working properly. Maine Department of Transportation Project Manager Ernie Martin said once they are working with the railroad crossing signals, the lights will be active. After the testing, the lights went back to flashing yellow and red.

Police were on hand to alert motorists to the test. Even so, some ignored the red light on Route 1 or inched out from Water Street against the light to make a left turn onto Route 1.

“It’ll take time,” Martin said. “A few weeks should do it, after that it’ll be an enforcement issue.”

Most of the work downtown has been completed. However, some issues remain with side street parking. There is no striping telling people how close to Route 1 they can park. Cameras on the poles over the traffic signals observe cars that appear to be at the corner waiting for the light. Parked cars within a certain distance from the intersection can be mistaken for a waiting car, Martin said. This can affect how quickly the lights change, and cars in the cameras’ paths can cause the lights to cycle faster. Martin said either no parking signs or diagonal striping could be used to solve the problem until spring.

Items still to complete include the Water Street parking lot paving; work on parts of the sidewalks, installing benches and trash cans;  and other work that could not be done due to weather issues. Some items will be delayed until spring, Martin said.