Maine’s Potato Country Nabs $44M Truck Bypass

Maine’s Potato Nation Nabs $44M Truck Bypass

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Assistance is on the best way for truckers in northern Maine carrying freight alongside an impediment course of 150 residential and business driveways, 25 intersections, 12 crosswalks, 9 stoplights, pedestrians, cyclists and a rail crossing on U.S. Route 1.

A two-lane rural freeway with various velocity limits traversing small communities, farmland and forests, U.S. 1 is the first highway for the whole northern half of Maine, linking the north finish of Interstate 95 in Houlton close to the jap border with Canada to the far northern reaches of the state.

The U.S. Division of Transportation lately chosen the freight bottleneck on Foremost Road (U.S. Route 1) in Presque Isle for a $44 million grant to construct a 6.6-mile-long truck bypass south of town.

The 2-lane bypass will full a present part already in service and have a brand new interchange at U.S. 1 and Conant Street, truck climbing lanes, field culverts and 4 new overpasses to grade separate the bypass from the rail line and three roads. Rumble strips shall be put in alongside shoulders to warn motorists towards veering out of their lane.

“There’s a vital quantity of truck site visitors on Foremost Road contemplating it’s Route 1,” Martin Puckett, deputy metropolis supervisor for Presque Isle, instructed Transport Subjects. “Being a service heart neighborhood, our inhabitants triples and our site visitors counts are even greater. A big portion is touring north or south to get to a vacation spot, not stopping for providers.”

Puckett stated vehicles encounter difficulties navigating site visitors patterns and commuters in addition to making tough east/west highway turns.

“Foremost Road frequently ranks on the high of crash information within the county and eight places within the three-mile stretch exceed Maine Division of Transportation requirements,” he stated. “Lowering site visitors would assist scale back the quantity of crashes and enhance pedestrian security for our historic downtown.”

MDOT has said that the mission can even improve security for an Amish neighborhood within the area round Presque Isle whose members steadily commute through horse and buggy. “Adjustments to roads within the area will replicate the considerations of the Amish to make sure they can safely share the highway with motor autos,” MDOT said.

For over 20 years, MDOT officers have thought-about constructing a bypass round Presque Isle (an previous lumber city 75 miles south of the Canadian border) the place practically 16,000 autos go by way of day by day.

“Being an space that depends on the agricultural and forestry industries, the bypass helps the financial system and improves the site visitors circumstances within the downtown to make it extra pedestrian pleasant,” Puckett stated.

The brand new truck bypass will velocity up transportation occasions for northern Maine freight, together with for time-sensitive perishables.

MDOT famous in its grant software that US 1 is a ranked Precedence 1 highway equal to interstates and the Maine Turnpike. Presque Isle is situated in Aroostook County, the state’s dominant freight producer in 2015, delivery 8.5 million tons and receiving 8.7 million tons of products from different counties and states.

Right this moment’s congestion on the Presque Isle freight hall is exacerbated by giant volumes of uncooked supplies (potatoes and tree logs) trucked from north and west of town to a potato processing plant and tree logs going east to a close-by engineered woods plant. Aroostook County is the highest potato grower in Maine.

“Some potatoes are shipped as harvested, whereas many are transported to native processors to be made into potato chips and french fries, that are then shipped all through the jap U.S. Farmers, processors and distributors depend on an environment friendly regional highway system as an integral a part of their ‘conveyor belt,’ ” in accordance with MDOT.

When full, the truck bypass will lead to a discount of 544 vehicles in annual common day by day truck site visitors downtown within the first 12 months, together with these carrying hazardous supplies equivalent to bleach and diesel gasoline.

The bypass shall be designed as a really restricted entry highway with fencing and well-designed animal pass-throughs to reduce conflicts with regional wildlife because of the giant animals that roam there.

MDOT said that though the Presque Isle mission doesn’t tackle truck parking, the bypass could have large shoulders in areas to offer area for vehicles to tug over briefly to test questions of safety in a safe method whereas permitting sufficient area for motorists to stay safely transferring and unaffected.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) famous Sept. 29 that along with an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant for the Presque Isle mission, Maine will obtain $33 million to rehabilitate 68 miles of U.S. 1 between Machias and Calais.

“The reconstruction will embrace widening shoulders, changing drainage buildings and making security enhancements equivalent to putting in new guardrails and rumble strips. These measures are meant to considerably scale back the variety of lane departure crashes, that are a identified downside on this hall,” Collins stated.

She stated an improved roadway will strengthen connections between communities and enhance environment friendly freight actions given the proximity to a global land border and seaport.


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