LINCOLNVILLE — The Maine Department of Transportation is putting the finishing design touches on its plans to rebuild a 1.54-mile stretch of Route 1 north of Camden toward the Lincolnville town line, a project that includes raising the notorious Spring Brook Hill bridge where crashes frequently occur in the colder months. Because the highway has long been on the minds of local committees, especially in Lincolnville, selectmen there want to meet with their Camden counterparts to talk about it.
The proposed design entails reconfiguring slopes and roadbed, clearing trees so sun can dry the highway in the winter, and filling and raising bridges, in some spots by at least seven feet.
There are plans for creating an 11-foot travel lane with four-feet-wide paved shoulders on either side.
“It’s a good design,” said DOT Project Manager Ernie Martin, who is part of the DOT’s Midcoast office. “It’s fully funded and it can get constructed.”
He anticipates a 2017 start date for the $4.4 million project. The $1.5 million replacement of the Spring Brook bridge and the $700,000 replacement of the Great Brook Bridge will be done at the same time as the highway rebuild.
With the design and the preliminary design report just about finished, the next steps for the DOT involve researching who the abutting landowners are, the value of properties close to the highway, identifying rights-of-ways, titles, and determining how to negotiate with those landowners either outright compensation for highway construction, or temporary construction compensation.
“That takes time,” said Martin.
The Lincolnville Selectmen, in the meantime, want to meet with Camden’s Select Board to discuss this particular highway project. Lincolnville has been anticipating the rebuild of its stretch of Route 1 south of the Beach for several years.
The DOT, aka, the State of Maine, owns four rods — or 66 feet — of width that the highway occupies as it passes through communities.
At their Oct. 13 meeting the Lincolnville Selectmen approved the following letter being sent to their counterparts in the next town over:
“Dear Chairman French and Members of the Camden Select Board:
We have been informed by our Route 1 Advisory Committee that the DOT is planning to reconstruct Route 1 from just north of the entrance to Camden Hills State Park through to the Camden/Lincolnville town line. Over the last several years we too have had preliminary discussion with the DOT about the future reconstruction of Route 1 from the Camden/Lincolnville town line to the beach area and the roadway north of the beach area through to the Lincolnville/Northport town line.
We would like to propose that the Select Boards from our two towns along with our Route 1 Advisory Committee (and any equivalent committee that the Town of Camden might have) meet jointly to discuss areas of mutual interest concerning any proposed reconstruction (including items such as travel lane width, shoulders, bike lanes, right-of-way acquisition, construction impacts, etc.) and an ongoing dialogue between our communities. We would be very pleased to host the meeting at the Lincolnville Town Office or be willing to come to Camden if that would make it easier for you. If such a meeting is of interest to you please have your representative contact our Town Administrator David Kinney to coordinate the meeting time, location and other details.”
The DOT’s Work Plan outlines the project as beginning .56 miles north of the Sagamore Farm Road, and continuing for 1.54 miles.
The highway passes through Camden and Lincolnville residential and mixed-use zones, dotted with homes, a few farms, many lodging establishments, and parts of the Camden Hills State Park.
Martin said much water runs down from the hills, and the road is to be improved, in part, to better control drainage and slippery conditions. Bridges over Spring and Great brooks are to get raised and rebuilt.
“Hopefully, this will address a lot of the accidents,” he said.
Martin said the DOT will be holding a public hearing on the rebuild in early 2016. Route 1 is part of the national highway corridor system, but falls under DOT jurisdiction for maintenance.
As for bike lanes and pedestrian pathways, Martin said he would have hoped those ideas would “have already been brought forth, since we are deep in the design.”
As of Oct. 20, Lincolnville had yet to hear back from Camden about getting together to talk about the project.
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