Selectmen fighting Moose Pond Causeway guardrail plan

PICTURESQUE OR DEADLY? — The granite stone blocks that line the Moose Pond Causeway, now hidden by snow, add to its picturesque quality, but administrators at the Maine Department of Transportation consider them as “deadly fixed objects,” and want to add a guardrail as an added safety precaution. Bridgton Selectmen are fighting the plans. (Geraghty Photo)

PICTURESQUE OR DEADLY? — The granite stone blocks that line the Moose Pond Causeway, now hidden by snow, add to its picturesque quality, but administrators at the Maine Department of Transportation consider them as “deadly fixed objects,” and want to add a guardrail as an added safety precaution. Bridgton Selectmen are fighting the plans.
(Geraghty Photo)

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Board of Selectmen are fighting a plan by the Maine Department of Transportation to install a guardrail in front of the granite stone blocks that run along one side of the Moose Pond Causeway, as part of a planned paving project.

On Tuesday, the board directed Town Manager Bob Peabody to send a strongly-worded letter of objection about the plans to MDOT administrators in Augusta. Peabody said it’s a toss-up as to whether the letter will change the agency’s mind.

“In checking with the local (project) engineer, he doesn’t have a problem with the stones, but the higher-ups (at MDOT) look at these as deadly fixed objects,” Peabody said. The state plans to pave a stretch of Route 302 just north of Route 93 to the Stack ‘Em Inn Road, as a supplemental project to the highway reconstruction planned from Stack ‘Em Inn Road to beyond the Fryeburg town line.

Peabody said it is state transportation policy to look at safety needs whenever paving work is done. “This isn’t unusual,” he said. “If the town disagrees, the board can send a letter in an attempt to change their minds.”

Selectmen said the Causeway has historically been a safe stretch of highway, and the stones provide sufficient caution to motorists. A post guardrail system is not only unnecessary, it would destroy the picturesque quality. Board Chairman Bernie King said that if the state wants to install a guardrail, “I’d much rather see it in front of the Sportshaus building. Talk about deadly objects.”

Board member Ken Murphy said another place on Route 302 where a guardrail is more of a need is in front of the land sloping down to Stevens Brook Elementary School, where children go sliding in the winter. “I’d rather see a guardrail where we really need it,” he said.

 

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