Edgecomb residents ask MDOT about ‘Florida T’

Selectmen host discussion on 2019 project
Posted:  Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 7:45am

A traffic control measure for U.S. Route 1 and Route 27 in Edgecomb will be in place by July 2019,  but the design is still in the conceptual stage, according to Maine Department of Transportation. Edgecomb residents learned more about the proposal to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents on what department officials describe as one of the most heavily traveled and accident prone intersections in the state.

MDOT Senior Project Manager Ernie Martin and civil engineer Matt Philbrick led a 30-minute discussion during a preliminary public meeting about plans for the troubled intersection. Martin reported the project had received state funding for 2019. Philbrick described current plans for improving intersection traffic flow by constructing a “protected left,” also called a “Florida T.” This safety measure provides acceleration and deceleration lanes for left-turning traffic onto U.S. Route 1.

The department is also improving signage along U.S. Route 1 to better prepare motorists for the change, according to Philbrick. “Overhanging span wires will direct traffic into the proper lane. This will change current traffic patterns and eliminate a majority of traffic accidents,” he said.

During the June 5 MDOT meeting with selectmen, Martin reported the intersection has been closely monitored since 2015. At peak times, MDOT reports 14,000 cars use the intersection daily, with 5,000 coming from the Boothbay region.

About a dozen Edgecomb residents attended the meeting. Their questions centered around traffic safety at the intersection and beyond. Resident Heidi Wright shared her daily experience of merging onto U.S. Route 1 for a location beyond the intersection. “It’s not just the intersection,” she said. “It’s a white knuckle experience from our place each day.”

The design hasn’t been finalized. The project will have additional signage, but MDOT is not sure about lower speed limits or lighting.
The preliminary hearing was followed by a selectmen’s meeting. Selectmen voted 2-0 to let Barters Island Baptist Church hold weekly Bible study sessions in the municipal building. Rev. Rich Azud is hoping to draw locals to weekly sessions scheduled to begin for six weeks at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25. The church will be charged $50 per session.
Selectmen want Code Enforcement Officer Stan Waltz to inspect the condition of a vacant mobile home on U.S. Route 1. Selectmen sold the land last month as tax-acquired property. Fire Chief Roy Potter described the structure as “unsafe.” Selectmen want Waltz to inspect the property and contact the new owner about taking appropriate actions.
Potter also sought and received selectmen’s approval to use the municipal bulk rate for a mass mailing fundraiser. The department is soliciting donations to purchase $30,000 worth of extrication equipment.
The selectmen will meet next at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 in the municipal building.