East-west highway may include recreation trail, utility lines

By Mike Lange, Piscataquis Observer
Posted July 03, 2013, at 11:42 a.m.

SANGERVILLE, Maine — The route of the proposed east-west highway probably won’t be made final in the near future, but the limited access highway may include a recreation trail and utility lines.

In response to a letter from Sangerville Town Manager David Pearson, east-west highway project manager Darryl Brown wrote that the corridor “as currently proposed will include a four-lane divided toll road highway and an all-purpose recreation trail to accommodate snowmobiles, ATVs and hikers.”

Pearson read Brown’s letter at the June 27 Board of Selectmen’s meeting. It said, in part, “years down the line, it is conceivable that the corridor could include other uses such as utility transmission lines. If so proposed, any additional use of the corridor would be subject to the same local, state and federal permitting process as the initial proposal for a highway and recreation [trail].”

Pearson sent a letter to Cianbro Corp. asking what he termed, “basic reporter’s questions — what, where and when — and felt that it would be interesting information for us to have,” Pearson said. But the town manager and the board both said that the concept of a recreation trail was a surprise to them.

“I never heard the recreation trail mentioned before. Are they talking about a snowmobile trail right by the highway?” Pearson asked.

Brown’s letter also said that it will be several years before construction of the 220-mile highway begins.

“The permitting alone will take at least three years and quite possibly, as many as five years. Adding all of that together, it is safe to say that construction will not begin for at least five to six years from now,” Brown wrote.

The Cianbro executive also said that “the final route of the corridor has not yet been determined and won’t be until we have satisfied local land ownership issues as well as environmental challenges. Because of the scope of the project, we are working very hard to ensure that the impacts to individual property owners and environmental issues have been minimized.”

Sangerville, Monson and Charleston residents have voiced opposition to the corridor and have placed moratoriums on any permitting process related to the construction of the highway.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/03/news/piscataquis/east-west-highway-may-include-recreation-trail-utility-lines/ printed on August 27, 2014