Eastport-Houlton route focus of DOT planning

Posted Jan. 18, 2011, at 7:11 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:20 a.m.

BAILEYVILLE, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation is asking travelers who use U.S. Route 1 to weigh in on what transportation changes should be made to the corridor in the next 10 to 15 years.

The Washington County Council of Governments has been selected as the lead agency to develop a management plan for part of what the state has designated as the Coastal Canadian Corridor. WCCOG will work on the plan for the section of the corridor that runs from Eastport to Danforth in eastern Washington County.

The Northern Maine Development Commission will pick up the plan at the border between Aroostook and Washington counties and focus on the corridor from Danforth to Houlton and the U.S. border.

Sandi Duchesne, a private consultant hired by WCCOG as project manager, said Tuesday that the travelers who use the corridor for commercial, recreational or commuting purposes are the ones who will help create the plan.

Duchesne said that although DOT defines Route 1 as the corridor, conversations with commercial users and others may determine that there are other more frequently used routes to travel between Eastport and Danforth.

The first action will be to define the study area, Duchesne said. “This doesn’t necessarily mean just Route 1.

“We will be looking at all aspects — motorized vehicle, rail, air, marine, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Investments in high-speed telecommunications for eastern Washington County will also be considered,” she said.

Duchesne said the existing conditions on the corridor, what is working and what is not working will be determined through a series of meetings.

“This plan will result in recommendations to the DOT for changes in the next 10 to 15 years,” she said. “We are giving them the user point of view, telling them, ‘This is what needs to happen.’”

A kickoff meeting and preliminary work session for the advisory committee, which will meet three or four times between January and May, will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Baileyville Town Office. The general public is invited to observe the work session, and there will be a short period for public com-ment at the end of the session.

All meeting agendas, minutes and plan components will be posted on the WCCOG website — www.wccog.net — as they are developed.

Anyone who wants to be placed on the mailing list for project updates or who wants more information on the corridor management plan may contact Duchesne at 735-5436 or at smduchesne@roadrunner.com.

A diverse cross-section of Washington County residents and organizational representatives has been invited to serve on the advisory committee to assist WCCOG in the development of the transportation corridor management plan.

Represented constituencies and agencies include local, state and tribal governments; the Unorganized Territory; Eastport Port Authority; trucking firms; major industries; bicycle and pedestrian advocates; public transit and paratransit services; the United States Coast Guard and Border Patrol; Downeast EMS; St. Croix Valley Healthy Communities; hospitality and tourism business owners; telecommunications experts; snowmobile and ATV riders; and the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce.

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