|12/11/2013 2:00:00 PM|
Bath Road Master Plan Awaits Selectmen Approval
By Kathy Onorato
The Bath Road Master Plan Steering Committee voted to recommend to the
Wiscasset Board of Selectmen, a plan aimed at encouraging development and
mobility along Wiscasset's business corridor which extends from the Woolwich
town line to the north end of Flood Avenue.
A final opportunity for the public to weigh-in with concerns and suggestions
was held Dec. 10 when the steering committee presented it final plan to the
Wiscasset Board of Selectmen.
Just a handful of residents took that opportunity, most expressed
appreciation for the efforts of the committee. "It looks to be good. All the
critical points are covered," said Wiscasset resident Bob Bruce.
The steering committee, made up of business owners, residents, elected
officials, bike/pedestrian advocates, MaineDOT, the town of Wiscasset and the
Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, have been working for about a
year to come up with a plan to improved traffic flow along the business
corridor while considering the need for future development.
Wiscasset Town Planner (standing) discusses the Bath
Road Master Plan at a workshop with Wiscasset selectmen Dec. 10. (Kathy
"This is a growth area and the town encourages more development," said
Wiscasset Town Planner Misty Parker.
Immediate improvements in the plan involve widening sections Bath Road with
right turning lanes at various intersections. This would allow traffic
turning right to get out of the way of vehicles traveling faster.
Wiscasset resident Bob Bruce shares his concerns of
crossing a three-lane road. (Kathy Onorato photo)
Also discussed was a center two-way turning lane. "It has been proven to be
very safe and good access management," said Thomas Errico, a traffic engineer
with Ty Lin International.
Now that the steering committee has recommended adopting the plan, the board
of selectmen must vote. The selectmen decided to table the vote on adoption
to its next meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Certain recommended improvements in the plan are already under consideration
by DOT for 2014-2015. "These safety issues were identified before the plan,"
If the plan is adopted by the selectmen, zoning and design recommendations
can be made.
The steering committee identified short-term improvements based on the need
to address current safety and/or capacity problems along the corridor. Errico
suggested a three to five year time frame for completing the short-term
goals. Short-term improvements include:
Widening of the Route 144 approach to Bath Road to create a separate left and
right turn lanes; a southbound turn lane on Bath Road at the Route 144
intersection; the creation of a southbound right turn lane at the existing
McDonald's driveway entrance to serve additional development; widening Bath
Road in the vicinity of Dunkin Donuts to re-create a shoulder; create a
northbound left turn lane on Bath Road at the southern Old Bath road
intersection; create a three-lane section on Bath Road from Oxhorn Road north
to the new left lane at the southern Old Bath Road intersection; make a
southbound right turn lane on Bath Road at the southern old Bath
intersection; create a southbound right turn lane at the existing Ames Supply
driveway entrance; and make a southbound left turn name on Bath Road at the
Birch Point Road intersection.
Long-term improvements can be considered when the need arises, said Errico.
When development and traffic increases it would be time to consider options,
including: the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Bath
Road and Route 144; the installation of traffic signals at the intersection
of Bath Road and Birch Point Road; a three-lane section on Bath Road south of
Route 144; Route 144 to McDonalds; Old Bath Road south to Wood Lane; and Ames
Supply parking lot to Page Avenue.
Other long-term options to consider are: improvements to create a village
environment between Page Avenue and Birch Point Road and improve the visual
environment of the corridor; and improvements to create a connector or
backage roads to serve as development adjacent to Bath Road.
Errico said because no actual plans have been made the estimates are "very
Roadway improvements are estimated at $3,500,000 and the creation of backage
roads adjacent to Bath Road, $11,500,000.
Angelo Pappagallo, of Newcastle, asked if a cost-benefit analysis had been
done. Errico said the $15 million estimate was for construction cost only.
"It's something that should be taken into consideration," Pappagallo said.
Funding for the projects may come from the state cost-sharing formula with
the Town of Wiscasset and DOT; property owners, developers, DOT traffic
movement permits, local development, impact fees or tax increment financing.
Although Bruce thought the planned looked good, he did expressed concern with
the speed limits on some sections of Bath Road. He also said it would be more
dangerous for pedestrians to cross a three-lane highway.
Ann Leslie said she was pleased the plan takes under consideration the
character of Wiscasset. "I feel like it's a new era, considering both
esthetic concerns and functional concerns. We got to take steps forward,"
Pappagallo, in a prepared statement, said he believed the bypass would have
been the best option for both business growth and safety improvements.
In his written statement he said, "After the gubernatorial election next
year, I believe you and I and every Midcoast business interest should pay
Augusta a visit and lobby hard to revive the plan. But you won't, instead
you're going to talk, form study groups and talk some more."
"Doing nothing is not an option. You have a plan - use it. It's time to
embrace the solutions, not the excuses," he said.
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