Wiscasset voters overwhelmingly supported a plan that the state says should alleviate Route 1 traffic delays and make downtown Wiscasset safer for pedestrians.

Voters were asked to choose from three traffic design options in Tuesday’s non-binding, advisory referendum election, including an option to do nothing.

It’s now up to the Board of Selectmen to recommend an option to the Maine Department of Transportation by June 30. The selectmen are expected to abide by the wishes of voters.

Option 2, which was recommended by the Maine Department of Transportation, received 426 votes. The do-nothing option finished second with 206. Option 1, a slightly different version of Option 2, finished with 90 votes.

Option 2 would lead to the creation of a 29-space parking lot on Water Street that would be located about 300 feet from Main Street. The lot would replace 25 parking spaces on Main Street between Water and Middle streets.

In addition, curbside barriers would be installed along Main Street to minimize jaywalking. The traffic option supported by voters would add 54 net parking spaces to Wiscasset’s downtown. Option 2 is expected to yield a 58 percent reduction in major traffic delays, the state says.

Gerry Audibert, the MDOT’s project manager, could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but in past interviews he has said that Option 2 would cost no more than $5 million. Audibert said it would have cost the state roughly $115 million to build a bypass around Wiscasset. The bypass would have resulted in the relocation of about 36 businesses and privately owned properties.

State transportation officials say that the combination of motorists trying to back out of angled spaces in the congested downtown and pedestrians who jaywalk across the two-lane road are causing traffic backups on Route 1 that can stretch for miles during the peak summer tourism season in July and August.

The MDOT estimates 17,000 vehicles a day travel on Route 1 in Wiscasset, with the daily traffic volume increasing to 22,000 in July and August.

Construction could begin by late 2017.

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