Final design to be unveiled at roundabout meeting

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FALMOUTH — The Maine Department of Transportation will give residents the opportunity to weigh in on a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Route 9 and Woods Road.

The MDOT will hold a meeting to present the department’s final design on March 16 from 6-8 p.m. in Town Council Chambers, where residents can ask questions, comment, and receive information on the $2.1 project from MDOT representatives.

MDOT spokesman Ted Talbot said last week that percent of the project’s cost will be financed with federal highway safety funds. The remaining portion will be paid for by the state.

Construction for the 135-foot, single-lane roundabout will be completed in 2017, Talbot said.

Talbot said no opposition was voiced when the MDOT held a similar meeting in town in 2014. He did say at that time there were concerns regarding a traffic light on Bucknam Road that backs up to the Middle Road intersection. Talbot said the problem will be looked at and, if necessary, adjusted to keep traffic from backing up into the roundabout.

There will be four exits, Talbot said. Two will go in either direction on Route 9, one onto Woods Road and one onto Middle Road. Middle Road will then disconnect from Route 9 and become a dead-end street.

“The reason behind this is to improve mobility and improve safety,” Talbot said, adding the MDOT estimates that around 9,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day.

Talbot said roundabouts have been appearing in Maine more often in recent years, and are superior to rotaries because roundabouts are intended to slow down traffic.

Even though the March 16 meeting will be held to present the final design, Talbot said there would be an opportunity for the public to discuss the project. He said it’s possible someone may have a new idea for the project.

“We’re presenting this, but we’re also taking questions and concerns,” Talbot said.

Falmouth may have a second roundabout coming in the next few years, as a result of a partnership between the MDOT and town to market 11 acres of land for private development on Route 1.

The land, which is at the eastern end of the Maine Turnpike spur, will be given to a town-selected developer by MDOT. In exchange, the developer will have to remove the turnpike overpass and ramps and create a grade-level intersection on Route 1.

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

The Maine Department of Transportation will hold a meeting at 6 p.m. March 16 in Town Hall regarding a roundabout to be built at the intersection of Route 9 and Woods Road.

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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.