WESTBROOK — A local Dunkin’ franchisee is confident once a store he is proposing at the corner of Methodist and Bridgton roads is built, it will not only caffeinate the residents of the Highland Lake/Duck Pond area, it will also improve the traffic issues that have plagued the area.

Through ESW Realty LLC, a subsidy of The Wolak Group, Edward Wolak is proposing a 2,164-square-foot restaurant on a vacant, wooded site where the two roads converge. Wolak said Maine Department of Transportation officials told him they wanted to make sure his plans did not impact traffic negatively and through meetings with the department, has agreed to include some traffic improvements as part of the development.

“We have been discussing this with the DOT for quite a few months and have had a couple of meetings. We feel we have addressed their concerns. Our plan will be to include a left-hand turn lane coming from Portland to Windham and a dedicated right turn lane heading into Portland,” Wolak said.

Wolak owns more than 85 stores across Maine, New Hampshire and New York, including locations at 29 and 763 Main St., 73 County Road and 24A Bridgton Road.

Wolak said he was attracted to the location after determining the parking lot at his other store on Bridgton Road is too small to accommodate larger vehicles such as RVs.

“The Dunkin’ Donuts business is an impulse business. It needs to be convenient for people when they are on their way. That explains why there are more Dunkin’ Donuts location than any other quick-serve business. The more convenient we are, the more people will choose our business over other businesses,” he said. “Because we can’t meet all of the demand at our smaller location, that’s why we are proposing a new site …”

ESW Realty LLC has filed a Maine Department of Transportation traffic movement permit application with the city to start the public review process of what is being proposed there. The traffic movement permit application, Assistant City Planner Rebecca Spitella said, “is typically done before approval, but it is not necessarily something that is needed before sketch.”

Sketch plans are the first step in the permitting process and give an applicant the opportunity to receive feedback from the planning board before a formal submission.

The traffic movement permit indicates the restaurant will have 28 parking spaces and lanes for both drive-thru and Dunkin’ On The Go traffic. The site would be accessed from Methodist Road and have a right turn in/right turn out onto Bridgton Road.

The new Dunkin’ site, according to the traffic movement permit, is expected to attract 1,472 vehicles a day, including 300 in the peak morning hours.

The area where the Dunkin’ is being proposed is close to two places the Maine Department of Transpiration considers high crash areas. Between 2015 and 2017, the intersection of Bridgton Road and Hardy Road/Duck Pond Road, one-tenth of a mile away, had 14 accidents, including eight rear-end crashes. The intersection of Bridgton Road and Chasehill Road and Elmwood Avenue, 2 miles away, had 11 accidents, more than half occurring when turning traffic hit vehicles traveling along Bridgton Road.

The traffic movement permit application submittal is just the first step in the process, but an important one, Wolak said, to give the public an idea of how traffic will flow as a result of the new development.

“We hope everyone will see it like we see it – that we have addressed the planners’ and DOT’s concerns. Now its time for the public to be aware of it,” he said.

The next step, Spitella said, would be for Wolak to submit a site plan application to the city’s planning department and get it on the planning board’s agenda.

“They will need to submit an application. That would be the next step,” Spitella said.

Wolak’s career with Dunkin’ Donuts began in 1967 when he worked for the company as a porter, and later a doughnut maker. In 1974 he took a management role after college graduation with a location in Nashua, New Hampshire. In 1985, Wolak opened his first store on Congress Street (where Congress Square Park is now) in Portland.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or [email protected] or on Twitter @mkelleynews

A local Dunkin’ franchisee would like to built a new coffee/doughnut shop at the intersection of Methodist and Bridgton Roads and has filed a traffic movement permit with the city.

Westbrook has four Dunkin’ restaurants, including this one at 742 Main St. A fifth is being eyed to serve the Highland Lake area of the city, although no formal plans have been submitted to the city as of yet.

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