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East-West highway corridor public forum scheduled in Dexter

Tom Walsh | BDN
Tom Walsh | BDN
Cianbro Corp. CEO Peter Vigue has been stumping for construction of an east-west highway across northern Maine for many years.
By Alex Barber, BDN Staff

DEXTER, Maine — Several area politicians will take part in a public forum to discuss the proposed east-west corridor on Saturday, July 14.

The forum will be held in the gym at Ridge View Community School from 6 to 9 p.m.

“The mic is open to the public for comments, questions and any kind of discourse that unfolds,” said Sidney Mitchell, central region coordinator for the Stop the East-West Corridor coalition.

State Reps. Raymond Wallace, R-Dexter, Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, and Peter Johnson, R-Greenville, will be present along with their Democratic opponents in November, David Pearson, Frederick Austin and Harold Dowse, respectively.

Democrat Herbert Clark, who is running for the District 27 Senate seat, will also be on the panel. Incumbent Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley, has declined the invitation, said Mitchell.

Cianbro president and CEO Peter Vigue, who has spoken twice about the project in Dover-Foxcroft, declined to take part in the forum, according to Mitchell.

Hilary Lister and Chris Buchanan, both of the Stop the East-West Corridor coalition, also will be on the panel. Mitchell said she hopes a representative of the Maine Department of Transportation also will attend.

The proposed corridor project would be a 220-mile toll highway connecting Calais to Coburn Gore, making an east-west route from New Brunswick to Quebec. Vigue has said the highway would avoid town centers and pass between Dover-Foxcroft and Dexter. He also has said that eminent domain will not be used in acquiring land for the project.

Six exits are planned at major interchanges, with two other exits being considered in Washington County, said Vigue in previous forums.

Vigue has said that the highway will help bring jobs to the region, while opponents say it will destroy land.

Dexter-Dover Area Towns in Transition, which is hosting the forum, will have a community celebration from 3 to 6 p.m. in the school before the forum.

“We will have a celebratory three hours of food and music,” said Mitchell. “People will be promoting their local businesses that have to do with agriculture, crafts and art from businesses that are functioning, manufacturing and selling to the populace who live here. We’re celebrating that. We’re not the hollow middle; there’s a lot going on here and it’s growing.”

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