A rendering of one of the options for work on the Maine Street overpass. This option, which the town voted to accept Monday, will combine the Route 1 ramp with Cabot street. (Contributed photo)

BRUNSWICK — Town councilors voted unanimously Monday night to back a $5.8 million project to revamp the Route 1 overpass, also known as the Pool Table, correcting a slew of safety and operational issues. 

The project will combine the Route 1 Southbound on-ramp and Cabot Street to create a single signalized intersection at Fort Andross and a signal at Mason Street. Fort Andross parking will have to be reconfigured, but it will still maintain access for businesses and accommodate the Riverwalk. This was the Maine Department of Transportation’s preferred option, and the department has agreed to fund the project. 

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

MDOT officials looked at multiple options to help ease traffic congestion, improve safety, maintain access to businesses at Fort Andross, work with the Androscoggin Riverwalk and stay cost-effective.  

“From a safety perspective it is quite frankly a disaster and operationally it doesn’t work,” said Tom Errico, a transportation engineer with T.Y. Lin International.

Officials considered a roundabout, Errico said, but it would have to be two lanes to accommodate the amount of traffic. It would also create problems for pedestrians trying to cross the road and at $10.6 million was the most expensive option, he said. 

Another option, a single-point urban interchange would have created a signalized intersection and reintroduce the Mill Street movement to Topsham by allowing a left turn from the Route 1 off-ramp onto Maine Street. This $7.8 million 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 there. 

There was also the option to not proceed with any of the options, at which point the MDOT would just re-deck the Maine Street overpass, a $2.5 million project. 

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