BREWER, Maine — A state legislator representing Brewer has submitted a bill to prevent the state from moving forward with a controversial road project to connect Interstate 395 with Route 9.
“The residents I represent have been clear that this proposal is unacceptable,” Maine Rep. Arthur “Archie” Verow, a Democrat in his second term, said in a Friday news release. “My bill will stop the project from moving forward and hopefully push state officials to work with residents and local officials in a transparent, inclusive way to find a satisfactory alternative.”
The Maine Department of Transportation proposed the $61 million connector to reduce heavy truck traffic along Route 46. The project has been in discussion since 2000.
In 2011, the MDOT backed one of several proposed routes, named 2B-2, which would extend I-395 at its Wilson Street junction and would roughly follow the Holden-Brewer line until entering Eddington and connecting with Route 9.
The proposal met resistance from officials and residents in Brewer and Eddington, including Verow, a former Brewer city councilor.
Brewer officials were so upset that MDOT officials did not discuss the decision to change the state’s preferred route from one that cut through the unoccupied center of Holden with them that city councilors unanimously withdrew their support for the connector in March 2012.
Verow said his bill would effectively take option 2B-2 “off the table” and encourage the MDOT to look at other alternatives to relieve heavy truck traffic in the area.
During a meeting earlier this week, the Brewer City Council passed a resolve reiterating its opposition to the project, instead backing the “no-build” option.
The bill is expected to be referred to the Legislature’s Transportation Committee. Verow was recently reappointed to that committee. The committee would be tasked with setting a public hearing for the bill before making a pass-fail recommendation to the full Legislature.
“I hope that residents of Brewer and other impacted communities will share their thoughts with the committee when the time comes for the public hearing,” Verow said.
BDN reporter Nok-Noi Ricker contributed to this story.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.