The Brunswick Taxi pulling out from the intersection of River Road and Pleasant Street on Tuesday. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

Town officials are weighing how to ease congestion on one of Brunswick’s most heavily traveled roads, but those solutions may come with a hefty price tag. A transportation engineer presented with the first recommendations last week about how to solve traffic congestion issues on Pleasant Street, a roughly two-mile segment of Route 1 linking Interstate 295 and downtown Brunswick.

There are also five high-crash locations on Pleasant Street that fall within scope of the town’s project, which, according to Maine Department of Transportation Communications Director Paul Merrill, resulted in 83 crashes during 2020.

High-crash locations and segments are areas that, in a three-year period, have eight or more crashes and a higher frequency of crashes than the state average for similar locations, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

The speed limit from the I-295 interchange to downtown Brunswick decreases from 65 mph to 50 mph to 35 mph. According to Brunswick’s Chief of Police Scott Stewart, there are six oversized 35 mph signs to slow drivers. In 2019, the annual average daily traffic for the Pleasant Street area was between 25,000 and 30,000 vehicles.

The town hired Tom Errico, a transportation engineer with T.Y. Lin International, to help guide the project aimed at making the corridor safer and less congested. The first recommendation included adding left turn lanes at key intersections on Pleasant Street, such as with Church Road and River Road, to prevent cars that are turning left from blocking traffic behind them.

“Congestion will be improved significantly with those left turn bays,” Errico told the town council last week. “It’ll be a much safer intersection by doing so.”

It is unclear as to whether the town of state would front the costs for road improvements.

Early cost estimates for left-turn lane projects range from $1.1 million to $1.3 million, and a recommendation for additional turning lanes around Stanwood and Mill streets was estimated at around $2.1 million.

Another recommendation included adding five different connector roads off or nearby Pleasant Street that, according to Errico, could help service businesses, improve bicycle access and improve overall traffic flow in the area.

Estimated costs of the connector roads ranged from $250,000 to $1 million, with one example being a road that could provide access to the Cumberland Farms, Amato’s and McDonald’s from the northern, backside of the businesses.

A bicycle lane for the one-way section of Pleasant Street connecting Mill Street and Maine Street was also recommended, estimated at $250,000.

“This is just a feasibility study, nothing that’s discussed tonight is going to start getting built tomorrow,” Town Engineer Ryan Barnes said. “The primary purpose of a feasibility study is to figure out what can be done, figure out how to get in the queue for funding so that these projects can hopefully come to fruition and at least get some level of service improvement.”

Attempts to contact Barnes for further comment were unsuccessful on Tuesday.

A new fire station is also currently under construction at the corner of Pleasant and Webster streets. Fire Chief Kenneth Brillant told The Times Record in February that he did not anticipate any issues regarding traffic at the new station, as the department will have the ability to control intersections remotely.

While ideas about implementing a roundabout and changing the eastern end of Pleasant Street from one-way to two-way were discussed at Thursday’s meeting and before, the ideas ultimately did not become immediate recommendations, although not ruled out completely.

A finalized report is expected to be complete by September.

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