Traffic builds up on Route 302/Bridgton Road and Brook Street in Westbrook, regularly drawing complaints regularly to the city, according to officials. Chance Viles / American Journal

The intersection of Brook Street and Route 302 in Westbrook is slated for up to $2.5 million in repairs to alleviate traffic snarls there and decrease the number of car accidents.

Over $1 million of the cost is expected to be paid by developers working on housing projects in that area of Prides Corner, although some of those projects still need final Planning Board approval before that portion of the funding is nailed down. The remaining funding will come from local, state and federal sources. The city expects to spend roughly $350,000 on the project.

Eastbound cars travel through the Pride’s Corner intersection Tuesday. Chance Viles / American Journal

The intersection, which has a four-way traffic signal, has been the site of 16 vehicle accidents in the past three years, among a total of 35 in the immediate vicinity, according to the Maine Department of Transportation. About 14,000 vehicles travel that corridor daily, DOT says.

“This signal gets more calls to my office than any other in the city,” City Engineer Eric Dudley told the City Council Aug. 3. “Most are about the inability, if coming eastbound from Windham, to turn left on Brook Street during the evening commute. You cannot do it. You can’t safely make that maneuver.”

Slated improvements include the addition of a left turn lane, upgrades to the traffic signal, sidewalks and paving. If all is approved, Dudley expects the projects to wrap up in 2023.

“I have a functionally obsolete Band-aided traffic signal controller at this intersection. It blinks out. We hot wire things in the cabinet and keep it going,” Dudley said.

An Aroma Joe’s drive-thru coffee shop at the intersection and a number of residential projects, including the 58-duplex Brooks Edge Farm subdivision proposed for the old Wormell Farm property on Brook Street, have drawn concerns that they will exacerbate problems at the intersection. In addition, a 96-home development, Cottages at Berkshire, across the street from Wormell Farm is currently under Planning Board review and Brook Street Apartments with 18 units was approved last October.

If the housing projects receive final approval, at a community impact fee of $5,200 per dwelling, about $1.2 million, will go towards Brook Street repairs.

The work on the intersection is part of an overall plan to upgrade Brook Street.

The City Council gave preliminary approval last week to use $310,000 in federal funds and $103,000 from the city’s capital improvement budget to cover milling, guardrails and resurfacing for a portion of Brook Street, beginning at its intersection with Virginia Street and extending a half-mile to the Falmouth town line.

City Administrator Jerre Bryant lauded Dudley and members of the Planning Department for piecing together numerous funding sources to address the growing need in Pride’s Corner.

“We are able now to take on a project we otherwise couldn’t have,” Bryant said.  “In this case, the cost exceeded the resources we could get from state and federal sources, but with a driving factor of these upgrades being development, we were able to tap into that as their share of offsite impact funding.  The project has been desperately needed for years now.”

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