ELLSWORTH, Maine — A road here will be completely redone this summer to accommodate a recent increase in traffic that is likely to build as more new developments set roots in the neighborhood.
Beechland Road’s makeover will include wider lanes, new pavement, an updated drainage system and a 4-foot-wide shoulder for bikers and pedestrians.
The road, which connects Route 3 with Route 230, is often used by savvy motorists who want to bypass Ellsworth’s busy High Street in order to get to Mount Desert Island or the retail stores on Route 3 and Route 1. It is one of three areas in Ellsworth that the city is hoping to attract businesses to, according to city manager Michelle Beal. The other two are Route 1A and Bucksport Road.
Traffic is expected to increase in the area when Maine Coast Memorial Hospital expands to Beechland Road in 2014 and Jackson Laboratory moves to the nearby building on Kingsland Crossing that was once a Lowe’s home improvement store and is now an abandoned lot.
About 30 people, many of them Beechland Road residents, attended a public hearing on Thursday night to hear Jim Wilson, from the Bucksport-based engineering firm Woodard & Curran present the plan for the construction of the road.
Wilson explained that the city would be purchasing right-of-ways from property owners who live on Beechland Road and who will see slivers of their property paved over when the road is complete. An appraiser will contact these residents within the next six weeks to work with them to determine the value of the affected property in anticipation of the city’s purchases.
Residents at the meeting appeared to be satisfied with the information they received though one asked how long the construction would take.
“Our aim is to have it done by October,” said Beal. “But there’s a lot of things that could change that.”
Beal and Wilson both said that projects like this one typically cost about $1 million. The state will contribute $500,000.