A Maine Department of Transportation plan to alleviate congestion posed by a traffic bottleneck along Wiscasset’s busy Route 1 has been momentarily stalled after the town filed suit against the agency.
The DOT wants to eliminate parking on the town’s Main Street, which also serves as Route 1, widen sidewalks and install traffic signals in an effort to reduce congestion during the summer months. But some community leaders and local merchants fear the touted improvements would actually be devastating for area businesses.
“The historic and traditional character of the town is very, very important to the life there and to how the citizens feel about the town,” says Portland attorney Peter Murray, who represents the town of Wiscasset in its dispute with the state. “So anything that’s likely to make a significant change in that is something that is of great concern to the town.”
“Well we were disappointed to learn that the town of Wiscasset has sued the DOT over certain aspects of the U.S. Route 1 improvement project, despite really overwhelming public support for the project concept design just last year,” says Ted Talbot, a spokesman for the Maine DOT. “In the meantime, the department continues to plan and design and manage this important regional transportation project.”
Town officials are concerned about state’s plans to raze a garage in the community but Talbot said discussions aimed at deferring that demolition are underway.