Selectmen joins citizens’ drive against rumble strip

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Incy and Bill Muir thoroughly enjoy the tranquility and beauty they experience every day living at 2 Brewster Circle.

Moose Pond is a special gem, in their minds.

The gem, however, is under attack in the form of noise pollution.

Last October, the couple heard “milling” from road construction work along Route 302 at the Moose Pond Causeway. The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) installed a rumble strip along the eastbound shoulder lane

While the Muirs understand the importance of “safety,” both having had careers in the medical field, they became very concerned regarding the noise created by vehicles traveling across the rumble strip, which at some points extend into the travel way.

The noise was “intolerable” from their home’s deck.

When the pond froze over, they took a walk to find out just how far noise from the rumble strip traveled. It truly carried.

The couple could even hear the noise at the summit of Pleasant Mountain.

So, they brought their concerns to MDOT, which controls Route 302. Conversations with the project manager have been professional, responsive and productive. The Muirs also reached out to neighbors and the general public by posting a survey, which was answered by 115 people.

“Ninety-seven percent felt the rumble strip impacted the enjoyment of the lake,” Incy Muir told Bridgton selectmen Tuesday night. “We understand it’s a safety issue, but there has to be a balance somewhere.”

Bill Muir noted that the noise will worsen once the weather warms and residents open windows and doors.

Another “pond” resident questioned the effect noise might have on property values?

The Muirs have suggested to MDOT to either modify or remove the rumble strip. Selectmen backed that effort and took it a couple more steps.

After hearing Muir’s comments, selectmen unanimously endorsed sending a letter to MDOT seeking modification of the rumble strip, as well as for state officials to take another look at reducing the speed limit near the boat launch area, posting signs in regards to the rumble strip and boat launch, and address paint problems with guardrails installed along the roadway.

Town Manager Bob Peabody noted that in previous discussions about the road project, MDOT officials agreed to revisit the speed limit matter after a year. Peabody said local officials cited other nearby areas along Route 302 where the speed limit was reduced from 55 to 45 mph due to boat launch areas and felt the same consideration was due the Moose Pond Causeway.

Bob Pelletier, who works as a Lakes Environmental Association boat inspector at the Moose Pond launch area, noted the safety concerns he has after watching individuals trying to put boats in the water amidst vehicles zipping along the Causeway.

He also wondered if MDOT had taken any decibel readings.

“Our concerns are their concerns,” Selectman Bob McHatton said in support of the town’s letter to MDOT.

Selectman Bernie King also suggested that the town address MDOT “lifting” the granite stones since paving efforts have now reduced the height of the stones.

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