DOT workers add foundations for new traffic signals at Cumberland Mills in Westbrook Monday. Chance Viles / American Journal

A scaled back version of the Cumberland Mills intersections improvement plan is underway after the initial project was postponed because of higher than expected costs.

The project involving the four problematic Westbrook intersections near the paper mill will now cost more than $2.8 million with the city’s share rising to $1.08 million, $676,989 more than previously estimated.

Tax revenue to the city from the Rock Row project will be used to cover the gap, however, and the city’s cost will be about $402,000, $400,000 less than the estimated city share of project a year ago.

A worker directs traffic at Cumberland Mills Monday, while DOT adds in the foundation for upcoming signals. The majority of the work will not disrupt traffic, Dudley said. Chance Viles / American Journal

Earlier plans called for a reworking of the entire traffic circle and major repaving.  The scaled-back project, approved by City Council on May 10, involves the Department of Transportation’s installation of new traffic signals and, next spring, the city’s repaving the roads and revamping the sidewalks to be more ADA compliant.

Work to install the traffic lights has started, but City Engineer Eric Dudley said it may not be completed until the end of the construction season in 2022 because of the difficulty of getting needed materials.

“They are definitely seeing that crunch, between steel being in incredibly high demand as well as the computer chips the signals need,” Dudley said.


The state has deemed the Cumberland Mills triangle with four intersections where Harnois Avenue, Warren Avenue, Cumberland Street and Main Street converge, as a “High Crash Location.”

“Where Warren Avenue and Cumberland come together, it’s in the top 10 worst in the state with crash history,” Dudley said. 

The DOT has wanted to improve the whole triangle since 2005, Dudley said.

Between 2016 and 2019 there have been 81 crashes in the three intersections, according to DOT statistics. 

“We had a pedestrian death on the Main Street side in the early 2000s,” he said.

An average of 15,275 vehicles travel on Main Street per day, 9,783 on Cumberland Street, 16,467 on Harnois Avenue and 9,094 on Warren Avenue.


The free-flowing traffic from Cumberland and Main often cause long traffic lines and fender benders in the mornings and evenings, Dudley said.

The project was postponed in July 2020 when it came in $850,000 over budget.

“This project has been in the works for as long as I can remember and now that we finally have funding in place, we are looking forward to these improvements finally being completed to help better manage traffic and improve safety,” Mayor Mike Foley said.

The addition of traffic lights will help with traffic flow and the number of accidents, Dudley said.

“What this project does is interrupt that free flow of traffic. So if you are a Main Street traveler (for example), you will get interrupted in that area,” Dudley said. 

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