The Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority are hosting a public hearing Monday on a plan that could bring a new exit to alleviate congestion at Route 111 near Biddeford’s current Exit 32, and create a new route from West Kennebunk to make south Sanford more accessible.

The study attempts to determine the travel needs of the 10 communities taking part ”“ Alfred, Arundel, Biddeford, Kennebunk, Ogunquit, Lyman, North Berwick, Sanford, Waterboro and Wells ”“ over the next 25 years. Preliminary recommendations from the central York County’s regional transportation study include the aforementioned changes as well as constructing passing lanes and a rumble strip in the center line of Route 111, along with fog lines to make the roadway safer; and revamping Route 202 into Sanford.

The recommendations seem as though they would help alleviate traffic in some areas, improve safety and allow motorists to better access towns and cities that do not have a turnpike exit within their borders.

However, planning is in the early stages, and officials are seeking public input on what they’d like to see ”“ or not see ”“ in the future.

These and other changes could become reality, and residents who are in support of or opposed to the proposals ”“ or have their own ideas ”“ should show up at the meeting Monday or contact the study group to make their voices heard.

More access points to the turnpike could mean less traffic for commuters on their way to I-95, while at the same time attracting more visitors and tourists to points further off the main drag. Confusing directions and lengthy distances could be a deterrent to people seeking to see Sanford’s downtown or other tourist sights west of the turnpike, and the changes could improve access for travelers looking for something new on their Maine vacations.

Increasing safety is always important, which is why improvements to Route 111 have merit and should be considered sooner rather than later. The many commuters who use the thoroughfare could easily tell the agencies the road has some dangerous intersections and is in need of more turning lanes at those areas, as well as the rumble strips and fog lines. We hope these recommendations move forward and are supported by the agencies.

As the plans move forward, residents of York County would be well-served to weigh in on the proposals as some of their tax dollars will ultimately go toward work that is done.

Monday’s meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. at Sanford Town Hall. Information on the study can be found at www.connectingyorkcounty.org.

Today’s editorial was written by City Editor Robyn Burnham representing the majority opinion of the Journal Tribune Editorial Board. Questions? Comments? Contact Managing Editor Kristen Schulze Muszynski by calling 282-1535, Ext. 322, or via email at [email protected].