Biddeford residents are invited to a public meeting at City Hall, or online, Dec. 14 to talk about traffic congestion along Route 111 and the impact on travel between Exit 32 of the Maine Turnpike and downtown, along with some potential solutions. The meeting is being conducted as part of a study by the City of Biddeford, Maine Turnpike Authority and Maine Department of Transportation. Courtesy Image/City of Biddeford

BIDDEFORD — The traffic along Route 111 in Biddeford can get quite congested at commute times, particularly in the evening, city officials say, and they have been looking at ways to ease travel to and from the Maine Turnpike at Exit 32 from the downtown.

One possibility they have articulated is a potential new connection running north-south between Route 111 and South Street, west of the downtown. In December 2020, the City Council voted to enter an agreement with the Maine Turnpike Authority and the Maine Department of Transportation, to study the matter.

On Dec. 14, the public is invited to attend a meeting, either in person at the City Council Chambers or online, to express how current traffic conditions impact them and hear details about the new study. As well as the proposed connector road, the study will evaluate a range of alternatives to improve safety and mobility along the Route 111 corridor and at Exit 32.

The study will look at conditions along Route 111 west of the Maine Turnpike to downtown Biddeford. It will also look at conditions to the east.

The study will determine to what degree a new road, or other alternatives, could reduce traffic congestion and improve safety along Route 111 and at Exit 32, including major intersections between Exit 32 and the downtown area, according to Biddeford Communications Coordinator Danica Lamontagne.

“In addition to safety concerns, multiple intersections in this area are failing in terms of levels of service, defined as the ability to move a sufficient number of vehicles through at peak travel periods,” said Lamontagne. A new road, according to city officials, would provide a more direct route from the turnpike to downtown neighborhoods, while removing vehicles from the in-town/Route 111 system traveling from Dayton and points west to the interchange.

The study will also evaluate the impact of a new road or other solutions on economic development opportunities in Biddeford.

The meeting, to be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m., takes place at the City Council Chambers in Biddeford City Hall. Participants may ask questions and make comments live, either in the Council Chambers or via Zoom from home. The Zoom link is: https://biddeford.zoom.us/j/94875382890?pwd=VWZMTlQ2SktNS2N1OEM4QzJEN0J3UT09 Webinar ID #948 7538 2890 Passcode #771180

The meeting will give participants a picture of the current conditions in the study area including traffic volumes and crash data, as well as a look at the Maine Turnpike Authority’s plan to upgrade the Exit 32 ramps in 2024. The upgrade, a short spur between the Exit 32 ramps and Route 111 west of the Exit 32 intersection, is designed to reduce pressure on the intersection by funneling off vehicles exiting the turnpike and heading west on Route 111.

The study will look at five possibilities: the ramp upgrade; a new connector with the planned Exit 32 ramps; a connector without the ramp upgrade; traffic demand management that increases public transit, car, and van pooling, walking, and bicycling; and transportation system management, which improves traffic signal timing, adding turn lanes and lengthening merge lanes.

Additional public meetings will take place in spring and fall of 2022 to hear feedback on recommended solutions developed as a result of study data and the public’s input.

 

Comments are not available on this story.