MDOT updates proposal for Routes 1 and 27 Edgecomb intersection

Change addresses Engelbrekt Road access to U.S. Route 1
Posted:  Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - 8:00am

The Maine Department of Transportation has tweaked a proposal for improving U.S. Route 1 and Route 27 traffic flow. Last year, the department submitted a conceptual plan called a “Florida-T” for improving the troubled Edgecomb intersection’s traffic congestion.

But the department’s solution had some unintended consequences, according to several Englebrekt Road residents. During an October informational hearing, several residents expressed concerns over how the “Florida-T” would impact Engelbrekt Road access to U.S. Route 1. Residents described the plan as forcing them to cross two southbound lanes before heading north.

At selectmen's July 30 meeting, MDOT Senior Project Manager Ernie Martin presented a revised plan addressing those concerns. The original plan called for creating a “protected left,” or a “Florida-T.” This safety measure would provide acceleration and deceleration lanes for left-turning traffic onto U.S. Route 1.

Based on residents’ concerns, the department is now proposing creating a U.S. Route 1 lane (refuge area) in addition to the Florida-T. The refuge area would accommodate Englebrekt Road exiting motorists onto U.S. Route 1.

Martin described the proposed change as minor. The project’s focal point remains a protected left-hand turn for drivers heading southbound onto U.S. Route 1 from Route 27.

“The protected movement would give an area of rest for drivers merging southbound on (U.S.) Route 1. A median will separate traffic entering Route 1, and one already present on Route 1. Overall, the intent of this project is making the intersection safer and more efficient with traffic movements,” Martin said.

Other proposed safety enhancements include a left turn lane for northbound motorists turning onto Cochran Road and one for southbound motorists turning onto Cross Road.

Large overhead signs will direct southbound traffic to merge. Rumble strips and striping will also remind southbound motorists to merge, according to the proposal. Islands and medians will be sloped in the intersections allowing emergency vehicles easier access to U.S. Route 1. Another safety feature is a large yellow beacon installed at the Cross Road intersection.

Martins also reported the department videotaped drainage around the intersection July 30 to evaluate any additional intersection construction needs. Martin plans on scheduling a final public hearing in September before finalizing plans for the project slated for spring 2019.

In other action, selectmen said they will ask two Lallis property abutters if they are interested in buying an adjacent 3.3-acre house lot. Selectmen are seeking a $27,500 minimum bid. If the abutters aren’t interested, then selectmen will seek sealed bids. Edgecomb got the 80-acre Lallis parcel in 2004 as tax-acquired property.  Last year, selectmen received voter approval to survey a small portion in preparation for selling a house lot.

Selectmen also set the fiscal year 19 mil rate at 0.17095, which is a 2 percent increase.

Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13 in the municipal building.