A stop sign on Blanchard Road at the intersection of Skillin Road in Cumberland will stay put despite an engineering firm’s recommendation that it is confusing to drivers and should be removed.

“The proof’s in the pudding. You have thousands and thousands of cars going through here every month, and we don’t have any accidents,” Councilor Michael Edes said at the June 5 meeting. “I think removing this is a disaster waiting to happen.”

The council split on the removal 3-3 with Councilors Allison Foster, Tig Filson and Mark Segrist in favor of scrapping the stop sign. Without a majority vote the measure failed.

The three-way, or “T,” intersection has a stop sign on Skillin Road where it meets Blanchard and a stop sign on Blanchard Road on the north side of Skillin. Blanchard Road south of Skillin has no stop sign.

Gorrill-Palmer, in its April traffic evaluation of the three-way intersection, advised the town to keep the stop sign on Skillin but remove the sign on Blanchard. The engineering firm’s study this spring is one in a series it has conducted starting seven years ago to determine the safety of the  intersection.

Traffic at the intersection has increased about 6% to 7% since 2015, traffic engineer Randy Dunton told the council last month, and there has been one crash there since 2020.


Still, Dunton said, drivers are confused when they encounter the stop sign on Blanchard Road.

“It’s unconventional and it’s not expected,” Dunton said. “It confuses some drivers who are not used to the intersection.”

Chris Neagle, who lives near the intersection, told the council at the June 5 meeting that he has been advocating for the removal of Blanchard Road stop sign for seven years because the intersection would be safer and more efficient without it.

“I don’t know if it’s the public or the council that thinks they know more than the engineers,” Neagle said. “‘Let the neighbors decide’ is not a safe policy.”

Other neighbors disagreed. Linda Powell, who lives in view of the intersection, said the traffic is incredibly fast on Blanchard Road, and the removal of the stop sign could be dangerous.

“Without that stop sign there, my fear is that people will continue to fly through the intersection,” Powell said. “I’m not sure what is to be gained by taking the stop sign away.”

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