BRUNSWICK — Early stages of construction started Monday for a new Cook’s Corner connector road that Town Councilor David Watson has called a “road to Brunswick’s future.”

The 1,500-foot road will link Admiral Fitch Avenue with Gurnet Road, creating another access point to Brunswick Landing that the town hopes will alleviate some of the traffic build up in Cooks Corner, according to Linda Smith, economic development director.

Brunswick accepted a $2.2 million bid from Crooker Construction LLC in Topsham, Smith said, lower than the estimated $2.5 million price tag. With a $200,000 contribution from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority and about $815,850 from the Maine Department of Transportation via a Business Partnership Initiative grant, the town is footing about $1.2 million.

STEVE LEVESQUE, MRRA executive director, reports on redevelopment efforts at Brunswick Landing earlier this year

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The road will have three 11-foot-wide travel lanes, a 5-foot wide bicycle lane on both sides of the road, and a 6-foot wide sidewalk with a 6-foot esplanade on either side, according to previous reports. Street lighting is included and the road will bring utilities to some adjacent properties. Construction is slated to be completed by Sept. 2019, Smith said, and once the road “demonstrated a certain volume of activity” the town will be able to use the intended traffic signal.

The last step before construction starts in earnest is for the redevelopment authority to seek the town’s approval for some land, utility and drainage easements allowing the town to build on their property. Those approvals are expected to come at Wednesday night’s board of trustees meeting.

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“We anticipated the need in our reuse master plan in 2007, but the pace of redevelopment has bypassed expectations,” said Steve Levesque, the redevelopment authority’s executive director, adding that conversations surrounding the new road have been going on “in earnest” for more than a year. The new road will help better manage traffic getting to and from Brunswick Landing, and also open up more development opportunities for parcels that are currently landlocked, he said.

“We need to provide that alternate access (to the area) before people decide they don’t want to come out here,” Smith said.

To Watson, that growth and development is sorely needed in Brunswick, and he called the road a “good first step.”

“Business development reduces the tax burden on homeowners and you can’t do that if we don’t have adequate roads and infrastructure,” he said.

Next, he said, they need to connect Route 24 to Thomas Point Road and the Walmart parking lot to help make the area safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“You have to look at the future … in 10, 20, 50 years,” he said. “What can we bear today to make the future better?”

Brunswick Landing is the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station that employed about 5,000 people and closed in 2011 after decades of operation. Since then, the redevelopment authority has been converting the former base to civilian use. It is now home to more than 100 businesses employing about 1,700 people.

Entities operating out of the former base include call centers, light manufacturing, research and development, the town’s parks and recreation department and the Midcoast campus of Southern Maine Community College, among others. The redevelopment authority also oversees and leases hangar space and maintains the Brunswick Executive Airport.

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