CUMBERLAND — In a growing population center and major traffic corridor, construction and infrastructure work is a necessity and a frustration that we can all relate to. For several years now, the residents of the town of Falmouth and those who travel through the town on a daily basis have been dealing with infrastructure upgrades, construction and beautification of the Route 1 corridor.

Residents should examine the mistakes and frustration that this project has caused. While the landscape looks nice, the decision by the town to move ahead with the plan really deserves to be called into question.

This has been weighing on me for some time, but it came to a head last Thursday when the repaving of Route 1 between the Martin’s Point bridge and Route 88 had traffic backed up all the way onto Interstate 295 and beyond.

We understand that construction is essential, but continuing northbound lane closures during the evening rush is not. Maybe it was the result of poor planning or a contractor’s missing a deadline to open lanes by a certain time, but regardless, it shouldn’t happen on such an essential northbound artery. The fiasco caused delays well into Portland and even on I-295 north in Portland and was a real headache for motorists heading to all points north.

This isn’t an isolated incident in Falmouth, either; there have been several similar incidents over the course of the Route 1 reconstruction project.

Another such incident took place last year with the repaving of Middle Road in conjunction with the work on Route 1. This situation took place during the morning rush hour, resulting in lane closures on both sides of the highway, backed-up traffic well into Cumberland and severely limited access to the Bucknam Road I-295 access ramps during a busy time of day.

Other decisions should also be looked at, such as the reconfiguration of the Route 1 and Route 88 intersection. The public has been told that the intersection is being modified to be safer, but final paving is concluding and the only thing that has changed is that the dedicated right-turn lane on Route 1 northbound to Route 88 has been removed, forcing turning drivers to slow everyone continuing on Route 1.

This will not only lead to more traffic congestion but also make it a less safe intersection for all drivers. In a time with populations climbing, impeding traffic with the removal of the turn lane is a poor decision.

In addition to the work in progress, the town is also considering removing the bridge of the I-295 spur interchange just north of Bucknam Road. While many may agree that the bridge is underutilized, the removal of the span will only further impede Route 1 traffic by adding yet another unnecessary intersection with traffic lights.

The impetus of this project seems to be the potential for more retail-zoned space, but at this point in time, large buildings remain empty through the Route 1 corridor. In fact, Falmouth Shopping Center, which would be almost next door to this new structure, has a nearly 50,000-square-foot retail space that has been vacant for a decade.

Since the town has recently signed off on other proposals, including one that calls for spending $10.5 million to “improve” Route 100 in West Falmouth, these projects should be looked at closely and questioned.

The landscape work along the Route 1 corridor in Falmouth may look beautiful, but many of the intersection changes have led to longer wait times, worse traffic flow and many times outright frustration during construction. The town has without a doubt increased its maintenance costs as well with the addition of so many extra semaphores at these intersections. At my last count, the four-way intersection at Bucknam Road and Route 1 has 20 separate lights, which really does seem excessive.

As we continue to approve construction projects such as these, we need to take a closer look at the changes and decisions that are being made. With the growing population around Portland and the ever-increasing number of cars on the road, we need to look closely at our infrastructure proposals to see that they improve the flow of traffic rather than impede it in addition to making our Maine hometown more beautiful.