BRUNSWICK — The Maine Department of Transportation says it has found enough safety and traffic issues at the Maine Street Bridge in Brunswick, also known as the Route 1 overpass or the Pool Table (because of its large rectangular shape), to warrant replacing it at a cost of up to $10.6 million.

“Everyone knows the problems that exist at the pool table,” said Tom Errico, a transportation engineer with T.Y. Lin International, which conducted the feasibility study on the project. “From a safety perspective it is quite frankly a disaster and operationally it doesn’t work.”

T.Y. Lin and Maine DOT officials looked at multiple options to ease traffic congestion, improve safety, maintain access to businesses at Fort Andross, work with the Androscoggin Riverwalk and stay cost-effective, Errico said.

The preferred option is a $5.8 million project which would combine the Route 1 southbound on-ramp and Cabot Street with a single, signalized intersection at Fort Andross and a signal at Mason Street. The parking would have to be reconfigured at Fort Andross, but it would still maintain access for businesses and accommodate the Riverwalk.

Officials also looked into a roundabout, Errico said, but it would have required two lanes to accommodate traffic volume. It would also create problems for pedestrians trying to cross, and at $10.6 million, it was the most expensive option.

The third option, a single point urban interchange, would create a signalized intersection by allowing a left turn from the Route 1 off-ramp onto Maine Street, reintroducing and movement to Topsham via Mill Street. This $7.8 million project would “move traffic very efficiently” Errico said, but would prohibit left turns in and out of Fort Andross, which was a “significant concern” for businesses.

Errico estimated that just under 200 vehicles per hour would shift to this option instead of driving down Pleasant Street and turning left onto Maine. While any “reduced volume on Maine Street is a good thing,” it was not as much of a difference as he expected, he said.

The Department of Transportation favors the first option and is willing to contribute up to $5.9 million to whichever project the town chooses.

The designs still need to be ironed out, according to Nate Howard, a transportation planner with MDOT, and construction likely will not start until 2022.

If the town chooses not to proceed with any of the options, MDOT will still re-deck the Maine Street overpass.

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