Falmouth moves toward referendum on Route 100 overhaul

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FALMOUTH — Town Councilors on Monday night set an April 25 public hearing for a referendum on redeveloping Route 100 in West Falmouth.

Theo Holtwijk, the town’s director of long-range planning, told the council there are several key components to the project, ranging from intersection improvements, adding bicycle lanes from the Portland city line to Libby Bridge, rebuilding the road from Leighton Road to Libby Bridge, adding stretches of continuous sidewalks, and improving street lighting.

The council accepted preliminary plan recommendations from the Route 100 Committee on Feb. 8.

Redeveloping Route 100 is expected to cost approximately $11 million. Up to $4 million will come from the Maine Department of Transportation, because Route 100 is a state-owned road. Holtwijk said $6.5 million will be borrowed; the bonding will go to voters June 14.

The remainder will be paid for with a portion of current and projected fund balances in the West Falmouth Crossing Tax Increment Financing District, which will be extended five years.

With financing fees and other associated costs, the project will cost just over $12 million.

If approved by voters, Holtwijk said plans could be prepared by summer 2017, with construction possibly beginning late that summer or early fall. Construction could wrap up by fall of 2018.

The original plan was expected to cost in the range of $10 million range. But costs ballooned to $15.4 million, largely due to reconstruction needed on Leighton Road to Libby Bridge and Mountain Road, as well as from Winslow Farm to Hurricane Road. The Route 100 Committee ultimately decided to pursue a smaller project.

Holtwijk told the council the town could restart conversations with MDOT to see what can be done about the northern section of road once the current project is complete.

Councilors agreed that a mailer with more information for Route 100 residents would be a good thing to do. Holtwijk said the town sent out a similar mailer for the Route 1 redevelopment project, which was completed at the end of last summer.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

An $11 million overhaul of Route 100 in Falmouth is in the works, and will likely go before voters on June 14.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.