Town: Don’t park on Bridge

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The Cumberland County Sheriff recently told local elected officials he considers the Naples Causeway to be one of the most populated places in the county on the evening of Independence Day.

Naples Town Manager Derik Goodine said the town typically gets extra deputy coverage before, during, and after a fireworks display that draws “tens of thousands” of people to the Causeway. He is hoping for four deputies, in addition to the volunteers who coordinate with the Sheriff’s department and direct traffic on the big day.

With less than a week before the Fourth of July, the town has been proactive with plans to address public safety when the masses arrive.

Per usual, the issue of parking is a concern.  Less than two months after the opening of the Bay of Naples Bridge, Goodine has noticed people have formed the habit of parking on the bridge — especially during big events when parking is scarce.

NO BRIDGE PARKING

No one will be allowed to park on the bridge, he said.

As a physical deterrent, orange traffic cones and construction tape will prevent people from parking on the bridge.

As of Tuesday, Goodine was not certain whether or not the approaches to the bridge would be off limits to parking, too.

Subtracting those parking spots won’t dent the long list of where vehicles can park.

For those who don’t mind the hike, additional parking is available at the Cornerstone Church’s lot off Route 114. Also, on days the Naples Public Library is closed, that lot is offered for parking.

Ample parking spaces will be available. Meanwhile, it should be easy to ascertain which areas are off limits.

“I may put up sawhorses so people see the ‘No Parking’ signs,” Goodine said.

“We will put up ‘tow-away zone’ signs.’ People will probably be standing in those zones, and blocking the signs. There are always a lot of people standing on the Causeway because of the fireworks,” he said.

“This year, there will be more room for people to actually watch the fireworks than (there was) in the past years,” Goodine said.

“Every year, the fireworks displays have gotten better,” he said.

“Last year, I heard from several people it was the best ever. So, that, and the word of mouth has gotten around about our new bridge and Causeway and how good it all looks,” he said.

“I am expecting more people than ever,” he said.

In September 2010, the Maine Department of Transportation awarded a bid to general contractor Wyman and Simpson, Inc., to build a new bridge and renovate the Causeway. The $9.2 million job is slated for completion by spring 2013; however, in addition to completion of the concrete arch bridge, finished details such as a wood-stained concrete boardwalk, pine green pedestrian handrails, and wooden benches have already attracted crowds on a daily basis.

The Fourth of July promises to bring tenfold that number of visitors.

With the new and improved infrastructure, as well as an outstanding pyrotechnic show on his side, Goodine is sending out an open invitation to spend the holiday in Naples.

“The sooner they get here the better, to help traffic. They should come earlier and enjoy the whole day, now that they have room to meander around,” he said.

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