November 11, 2012

Curbing Biddeford crossroad's crash risk

The notorious Five Points is set for safety upgrades

By Gillian Graham
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD - Seven years after a major overhaul of one of the city's busiest intersections, state transportation officials are planning further safety improvements.

click image to enlarge

The Maine Department of Transportation wants to replace this yield sign with a signal light at the Five Points intersection in Biddeford to improve traffic flow and safety. A public meeting will be held this week.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer


1. Goodwins Mills Road and South Street, Lyman

2. Chapel Road and Route 1, Wells

3. Washington and Jefferson streets, Biddeford

4. Roundabout at Alfred and Main streets, Sanford

5. Branch, Credibord and Sanford roads, Wells

6. Clarks Mills, Goodwins Mills and New County roads, Dayton

7. Biddeford and Kennebunk roads, Alfred

8. Main Street and River Road, Buxton

9. I-95 northbound intersection, York

10. Hill and Bacon streets, Biddeford

Maine Department of Transportation officials will host a meeting this week to discuss a project that will fix "operational and mobility deficiencies" at the Five Points intersection. Changes will include replacing a yield sign with a traffic light, adding pedestrian-activated beacons at two crosswalks and re-striping the intersection.

Brian Keezer, project manager, said the public meeting is a chance for transportation officials to hear residents' concerns about the intersection. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at Biddeford City Hall.

Five Points is technically two intersections placed next to each other. The intersections sit at the point where Route 1, Alfred Street, West Street and Route 111 converge. Roughly 25,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day.

Improvements to the intersection will begin next spring and will last several months. About 80 percent of the $600,000 project will be funded by federal money; the rest will come from state transportation funds, Keezer said.

The Five Points intersection ranks 45th on the list of the 55 high-crash locations in York County for 2009 to 2011, according to the Department of Transportation. In the past five years, there were 126 accidents at the intersection, which drew the attention of MDOT officials, Keezer said.

Of those accidents, 23 were attributed to failure to yield the right-of-way and 28 were caused by vehicles following too closely, according to crash data provided by the Department of Transportation.

Guy Casavant, public works director for the city, said many accidents at the intersection seem to be fender-benders. There appears to be a conflict with cars that cross the intersection from West Street toward Route 111, where vehicles turning from Route 1 are supposed to yield, he said.

Keezer said the project will include replacing that yield lane -- which carries traffic south from Route 1 onto Route 111 in front of D'Angelos -- with a traffic signal.

"We're hoping this improves movement through the intersection," he said.

Project plans also call for the installation of pedestrian-activated flashing beacons at two crosswalks on Alfred Street; upgrading pedestrian push buttons at each corner of the intersection; and adding other safety features to bring the intersection into compliance with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Keezer said.

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

Twitter: grahamgillian


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