Improving Our Local Roads

By State Senator Bill Diamond

One of the most important things that the state does is maintain and improve our roadways.

Maintenance of our transportation infrastructure is critical to our economy as well as the safety of Maine’s citizens. As a member of the Transportation Committee, I take that responsibility very seriously, and it was important to see which projects the Department of Transportation was planning on completing over the next two years. The list of projects is contained in the department’s Biennial Capital Work Plan, which was published this past week. I am very pleased and excited about the highway projects that are now scheduled for our area.

First and foremost I’d like to mention the reconstruction of the River Road in Windham. This is by far the biggest project proposed for the area, as well as one of the most desperately needed. Work will begin at Route 202 and extending north for about six miles to Route 302. This is one of the most traveled roads in the area, and changes to the road have not kept pace with the increase in traffic. The Windham legislative delegation has been advocating for this project for quite a while and it is very gratifying to see it finally come to fruition. The total cost of the project is $6,000,000.

Other major projects, which are scheduled in our area are as follows:

In Windham:

• Highway resurfacing on Route 302 beginning at Route 35 and extending north for 1.16 miles to Whites Bridge Road — $1,386,716.

Bridge rehabilitation on Glantz Bridge, which carries Route 4 and Route 202 over the Pleasant River, located just south of Keene Road — $120,000.

Including the River Road project, Windham will receive over $7.5 million in new highway projects.

In Standish:

• Safety improvements including paving shoulders through the curves and installing warning signage and chevrons, beginning 1.79 miles east of Route 113 and extending east 1.01 miles — $140,000.

Engineering for drainage and pedestrian safety improvements on Route 25, and Route 35, near schools and businesses in Standish — $59,000.

• Intersection improvements at the intersection of Route 35 and the White’s Bridge Road — $559,375.

• Highway resurfacing beginning at Route 113 and extending north on Route 25 for 4.85 miles to Route 11 — $754,446.

As welcome and as impressive as this proposed work is, I’d like to mention a couple of warnings. First, all of this work is based on predicted costs, such as gas and diesel. This is because it both increases the cost of the projects themselves and lowers the revenue as people use less gasoline, resulting in less gas tax being taken in. The other warning is that we still must pass the highway budget during the legislative session to fund these projects.

I’d like to know your thoughts on this list, both concerning what is on the list, what isn’t and what you think should be. Please call me at 287-1515 or e-mail me through my website at http://www.mainesenate.org/diamond

Senator Bill Diamond is a resident of Windham, and serves the District 12 communities of Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish, Windham and Hollis.

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