MDOT to reduce speed limits on Route 11

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Even the most cautious of drivers occasionally looks at the speedometer to discover he or she is driving faster than the speed limit.

It’s so easy, especially on pavement that is in good condition.

Then, there is the percentage of the population that feels the need to speed.

The Town of Casco recently asked the state transportation department to review the speed limits on sections of Route 11. The result: Speed limits will be reduced.

Sometimes, municipalities request that the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) look into the reduction of speed limits on roads where accidents have occurred, according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

“The issue was the number of accidents and near accidents on Route 11,” Morton said.

The state is endorsing a 5 mph reduction to the current speed limits on several sections along Route 11.

MDOT has recommended reduced speed limits in the following areas on Route 11:

  • From Quaker Ridge to the driveway for the Memorial School sports field will be 40 mph
  • From Quaker Ridge to Leach Hill Road will be changed to 50 mph
  • From the Memorial School ballfields to Coffee Pond Road will be 45 mph
  • From Coffee Pond Road to Edwards Road will be 35 mph

Will these lower speed limits cause people to drive slower? Or, will people still drive a few miles over the limit and therefore drive the speed that existed before the speed limit was reduced?

“That’s a rhetorical question. Basically, most people drive too fast no matter what the conditions are. The hope is that someone follows the speed limit, and the three or four people behind them will have to follow the speed limit, too,” Morton said.

“Enforcement is a big issue. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough law enforcement resources. Neither the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office nor the Maine State Police have enough resources for traffic control,” he said.

A few years ago, the town acquired a digital speed sign that has been set up in various parts of town.

“The portable speed limit sign helps. It wakes people up to the fact that they are really going too fast and they need to slow down,” he said.

“We have had unofficial reports from people in neighborhoods” near where the digital sign has been set up. “They think it helps. Either it makes them feels better or it calms traffic,” Morton said.

Another part of the speeding solution is public awareness.

Because there are not enough law enforcement personnel to focus on speed-limit violations that happen along Route 11, “the big part is the educational piece,” Morton said.

“We have speed limits for a reason, not to inconvenience you or to make your commute take longer,” he said. “There is a reason for it. We need for people to be more conscious of that and obey the speed limits.”

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