A rendering of a proposed rotary at Blackstrap Road and Route 100/Gray Road. Contributed / Town of Cumberland

Cumberland officials are proposing a rotary at the intersection of Blackstrap Road and Route 100 as a way to ease traffic flow and increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Plans are dependent on state and federal funding the town may receive from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in November. Between $7 million and $10 million will be required, with 90% of the cost being covered by those funds.

The proposal includes newly built bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of Route 100.

“We have to apply and we have to compete for that money, but we feel pretty confident,” Town Manager Bill Shane said. “We have a very good project, and hopefully, the state will think so as well.”

If the town does not receive the funding, it will likely not pursue the project.

“I think what we would try to do is work on the traffic signal that we’ve tried now for almost 30 years unsuccessfully,” Shane said. “We don’t meet the Maine DOT’s traffic signal warrants. We told them for 20 years that we would even pay for it, and still, they won’t allow us to do it.”


The town is also hoping to fully redevelop that area of Route 100/Gray Road with new buildings and businesses to create a “business corridor,” according to Shane. Preliminary designs include about 24 properties that stretch for around 1 mile.

“It’s been our focus for years to get some economic development out there. We’ve had success with some businesses, there’s been some nice businesses that have evolved over time out there, but not to the extent we’d like to see,” Shane said. “A hardware store, a bank, some small cafes, just some things to make it a lot more convenient for the people of Cumberland and to encourage small businesses to invest in our town.”

That area of Route 100 is located in Cumberland’s special tax district, which adds an incentive for the town to encourage development there. The tax district allows the town to keep all or part of the real estate taxes paid from property in the district. In turn, that tax revenue can be used to invest in or maintain infrastructure improvements.

The town expects to know if funding is approved by September. The next step would be getting a cost estimate and determining how much land would be required, hopefully by Labor Day, Shane said. If approved, the target for construction is two or three years.

At a public hearing held on the project earlier this month, resident Sandra Gorsuch liked the plans for a rotary and said she would prefer small, local businesses in the area, rather than large chain stores.

Another resident said they were concerned about residential projects being developed rather than commercial, including apartments or affordable housing, because they felt the town needs the tax revenue that new business would bring in. Speeding was also brought up as a concern.

The Town Council is encouraging residents to complete a survey that asks residents about local development at cumberlandmaine.com.

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