The Maine Department of Transportation says it can’t realign the disjointed intersection of Anglers Road and Route 302 until the town of Windham acquires land needed for a new public extension of the private road across from Whites Bridge Road.

Currently, cars must wait at two separate stoplights on Route 302 where Anglers Road, a private way, and Whites Bridge Road intersect the arterial throughway.

Realigning Anglers Road side-by-side with Whites Bridge Road would eliminate the need for one stoplight, increase traffic flow and improve safety, say town and state officials.

MDOT made its announcement at a public hearing last Thursday while discussing the project with residents.

“We, the Department of Transportation, are essentially done here,” said Guy Whittington, MDOT project manager for the realignment. “It’s now up to the town and its citizens to hammer this out.”

The town is negotiating a public easement for the new Anglers Road extension across property owned by developer Tony Vance. In exchange for the easement, the town would lessen restrictions on a proposed 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot commercial building Vance plans to develop on the same property.

Meanwhile, MDOT is continuing preliminary engineering work for a 400-foot extension of two lanes on Route 302 northbound passing the disjointed intersection.

MDOT is restricted however from spending funds on the realignment as it stands today because the department cannot spend federal or state money on any private road.

If the town acquires the easement, MDOT plans to include the project in their 2008-2009 work plan. $1.26 million realignment would be paid for with 80-percent federal and 20-percent state money.

In the realignment, the current Route 302 entrance to Anglers Road would be closed off and the extension would then reconnect with the old Anglers Road looping around Vance’s commercial property.

While the realignment may be years off, residents wary of the project, namely those who live Anglers and nearby roads, came out to voice their opinions at Thursday’s public hearing.

“Right now, I don’t see the benefit to the residents on the private road,” said Tim Warrow, an Anglers Road resident. “I have a lot of concerns with that (commercial) development. I have concerns about somebody closing off the road without telling us. I have concerns that we as a road association weren’t publicly invited to this forum.”

Other residents questioned the logic behind fixing an intersection to improve traffic flow while allowing the creation of a commercial property that could bring more traffic through that segment of the Route 302 corridor.

Vance has the right to the develop the property with or without granting the public easement and the realignment of Anglers Road would be difficult without his cooperation, said Keith Luke, Windham’s Economic Development director.

“Our collective priority is to create a safer intersection not only for Anglers Road residents, but for travelers passing through,” Luke told the public at the hearing.

The town is working toward an agreement in which Vance would be given “contract zoning” for his commercial property (i.e. reduced restrictions on building height and setbacks from the road) in exchange for the public easement, Luke said.

Once an agreement is reached, the contract zoning proposal will be reviewed by both the Planning Board and Town Council.

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