BANGOR, Maine — With the Hogan Road extension project about to begin, the city is gearing up to take another step toward improving traffic patterns in the busy Bangor Mall area.
Once completed, the Hogan Road extension will run from the intersection with Stillwater Avenue, continuing between the Crossroads Plaza shopping center and the Country Inn, onto the site of the new Wal-Mart Supercenter.
If the city were to stop there, however, the result would be a tricky five-way intersection — less than ideal from a driver-safety point of view.
To remedy that scenario, the city is gearing up for another step, the realignment of the south end of Kittredge Road.
As originally planned, Kittredge Road would have been discontinued behind the commercial building that houses Sunrise Home & Hearth. From there a new section would run east to connect Kittredge Road to Stillwater Avenue.
That option, however, would have been difficult to get past environmental regulators because it ran through wetlands.
During a presentation earlier this week to the City Council’s transportation and infrastructure committee, City Engineer Jim Ring presented a revised version that would locate the Kittredge connector to the front of the stove shop, owned by local businessman Tom Ellis.
To do so, the city needs an easement from Ellis, who Ring said is “very receptive to this” and willing to work with the city.
By building the connector on top of the edge of Ellis’ parking lot, the city would be able to:
ä Cut the project’s cost from an estimated $500,000 to $600,000 down to about $70,000, most of that paving costs.
ä Avoid additional wetland disturbance in the ecologically sensitive Penjajawoc water stream.
“This approach has zero wetlands impact,” Ring told members of the council panel.
The city’s plan for the soon-to-be-discontinued portion of Kittredge is to reserve it for recreational use, including bicycle riders, Ring said.
Lucy Quimby, who is president of the Bangor Land Trust and a member of the Bangor Trails group, said after that presentation that she appreciated the city’s attention to finding ways to separate motor vehicle traffic from bicycle traffic “without our even asking for it, which is pretty cool.”
In addition, Ring said, the city will retain the easement for the original connector route in case it is needed in the future, though Ring said Thursday he did not expect that day would come for a long time.
City councilors who listened to Ring’s presentation said they liked the new concept.
“You always have your saving-the-people’s-money hat on,” Councilor Patricia Blanchette told Ring.
She and other councilors also applauded the avoidance of wetlands because disturbing them is “always a touchy issue.”
Councilors will consider accepting the necessary easement from Ellis’ company, Stillridge LLC, during their next regular meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
The new connector concept also is subject to approval from the planning board, which City Solicitor Norman Heitmann said likely would take it up in early October.
Ring and Heitmann said that both the Hogan Road extension and Kittredge Road connector would be built this fall. Neither road will be put into service until the opening of the new Wal-Mart store in late spring or early summer.