Workers install a flashing light on the corner of Mill and Pleasant Street last Friday. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — One of Brunswick’s busiest — and messiest —intersections is among those slated for study by the Maine Department of Transportation, but it may still be another two years before any work begins. 

The DOT recently released it’s three-year work plan, outlining more than 2,000 projects totaling more than $2.5 billion around the state between 2020 and 2022. Of that money, just over $1.6 million is expected to go toward studying and eventually fixing the congested intersection of Stanwood, Mill and Pleasant streets.

The department is using $94,000 to “look for alternate ways to accommodate left-turning traffic from Stanwood onto Route 1,” including new roadways, traffic engineer Stephen Landry said in an email. The study is expected to be completed this year. 

A new sign warns drivers to watch for weaving traffic from Stanwood Street. Courtesy photo

It’s unclear what may come from the study, but the department has budgeted $1.5 million in 2021/2022 for “auxiliary turning lane improvements” at the intersection. 

Last week, based on feedback from a public meeting in August, the DOT installed a flashing sign at the intersection of Stanwood, Mill and Pleasant streets to warn drivers when traffic is entering from Stanwood.

According to Landry, the light was turned on Thursday morning, and drivers are told to “take turns” when flashing and “watch for weaving traffic.” 

In addition to the sign, Brunswick crews installed a “low-rise mountable curb island” on Pleasant Street 

At the meeting in August, officials were weighing two options. The first would eliminate the left-hand turn onto Pleasant Street from Stanwood Street, and the other would extend the barrier going west toward the interstate so that drivers would have to wait longer before merging into the right-hand lane. The latter proposal would essentially extend the current plastic barriers and make them more permanent. Neither option was popular and DOT did not make a decision.

The study may present other options. 

The “Pool Table”

The DOT set aside $1.6 million to replace the deck of the Maine Street Bridge due to significant safety and traffic issues, department officials said at a meeting in September. The redecking is not slated to start until next year at the earliest and further Pool Table improvements likely won’t begin or be budgeted for, until 2022. 

The department offered the town up to $5.9 million to fund a project intended to fix some of the many issues of the overpass, or the “Pool Table,” which draws its nickname from its rectangular shape. The plan includes combining 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 will have to be reconfigured at Fort Andross, splitting a small section of the lot, but will still maintain access for businesses and accommodate the Riverwalk, which may also receive some attention. 

The Riverwalk is a 1.25-mile accessible loop on both the Brunswick and Topsham sides of the Androscoggin River. 

The MDOT plan set aside $80,000 for policy, planning and research around bicycle/pedestrian improvements beginning at the Swinging Bridge and extending to Mill Street, Bow Street and Cabot Street, and the Frank J. Wood Bridge, starting this year. 

Other projects 

Other projects in the pipeline include $690,000 for the Cedar Street parking lot and more than $860,000 for lighting work on I-295’s Exit 28. About $8 million is set aside for Brunswick Executive Airport improvements including $3 million for runway repairs, $1.65 million for a new 10-unit hangar and $2 million for alternative energy conversions over the next few years. 

In Freeport, bridges on Route 125, Merrill Road and Route 1/Cousins River Bridge will see significant upgrades, totaling $21.3 million.

Several stretches of road will be paved, including about 11 miles from  Potts Point Road moving south, 3.5 miles on Route 1 from the Freeport/Brunswick town line and 12 miles in Durham, North Yarmouth and Pownal from the intersection of Parsonage Road north to Route 136. 

The work plan also allocated $19.8 million to replace the Frank J. Wood Bridge carrying Route 201 traffic over the Androscoggin River between Brunswick and Topsham. 

The project, which has been embroiled in controversy and a lawsuit, is expected to go out to bid in late September.

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