Legislator criticizes Warren’s rejection of traffic light

Posted April 23, 2013, at 5:57 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — The state legislator who represents Warren said he is very disappointed that a majority of its selectmen refused to accept the installation of a traffic light at a busy accident-prone intersection.

Rep. Jeff Evangelos, I-Friendship, said those selectmen offered no reason for the rejection of a flashing light that would have been paid for by the state.

Evangelos said he got involved in the matter at the request of constituents who voiced concern over the lack of a light at the intersection of Route 90 and Western Road. The independent state representative said the flashing beacon was backed by both the fire chief and emergency medical service director in town.

Selectmen voted 4-1 at their April 17 meeting to reject an agreement with the state. Town Manager Glenn Aho said the selectmen who voted against it did not state a reason at the meeting.

The state would have paid for the installation, estimated at about $20,000. The town would have been responsible for the cost of maintenance which Evangelos said would have been less than $500 per year.

“This was ridiculous. It’s like being offered a new fire truck but saying no because you have to pay for the gasoline,” the representative said.

The Maine Department of Transportation had proposed a flashing light two years ago but an agreement could not be reached with the town.

The transportation department had indicated that in the past three years there had been five crashes at the intersection with two of them resulting in injuries. A March 19 letter from the DOT to Evangelos pointed out that the agency’s review of those crashes determined that none would have been prevented with a light at the intersection. The representative said, however, that there have been more crashes at the intersection and in earlier years, fatal crashes.

Evangelos said if one crash was prevented with the flashing light, it would save more than it costs to operate the light.

Selectman Arnold Hill said Monday he didn’t feel he had enough information when he and a majority of selectmen voted last week against the installation of the light.

He would support the measure if additional information was provided by the state.

Selectman Edmund LaFlamme said Tuesday he voted against the installation of the traffic light because he does not believe the state has enough money to spend on such items. LaFlamme said the state has yet to pave Main Street in town as it has promised.

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