Gateway study proposes 'significant' Route 1 changes in Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH — Pedestrian and traffic safety is the primary goal of the final phase of the Route 1 corridor Gateway Committee study.

A public meeting on the study is scheduled May 11.

Town Engineer Dan Jellis said the preliminary Phase III concepts include short- and long-term plans based on the project’s cost and significance.

The Gateways Committee was formed by the Town Council in 2001 to advise on the appearance and function of major transportation gateways to Yarmouth.

With public feedback, the committee has identified problems and concerns along the Route 1 corridor and has offered plans to promote safety, traffic flow and pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.

The first phase includes East Main Street ramp to Exit 17. The second phase addresses Main Street to East Main Street ramp. The final phase is from the Cumberland town line to Main Street.

Jellis said the Phase III short-term plan includes upgrades to the section of Route 1 at the Portland Street intersection and the traffic signal at the Rite Aid.

The proposed plan would move the crosswalk on Route 1 at the Maine Roasters Coffee building and square off the intersection with Bennett Road. The proposal would widen and lengthen turning lanes at the intersection.

The proposal would also remove a center turning lane and replace it with a median. There would be break points to allow left turns at Mercy North and Clayton’s restaurant.

The traffic light at Rite Aid would be moved back to North Yarmouth Academy and the entrance to the Yarmouth Marketplace would be placed opposite NYA and the proposed signal.

Additional changes include creating connections between streets and neighborhoods behind and on either side of Route 1. Jellis said there would be connections from Cleave Street along the railroad tracks to Yarmouth Marketplace and between NYA and Clayton’s restaurant. There is also a proposed connection between Mercy North and Portland Street.

The long-term plan for the third phase of the Route 1 corridor is more expensive and significant, Jellis said.

It would include an elongated, bow-tie shaped roundabout along Route 1 between Yarmouth Woods and just north of the Mobil Station. Jellis said the roundabout would ultimately remove the need for a traffic light at Portland Street, allowing continuous traffic flow along Route 1.

The information session on May 11 is a joint Gateway Committee and Planning Board meeting, an opportunity for the public to hear about the proposal and offer feedback.

Jellis said the Gateway Committee will review and revise the plan based on comments at the meeting and submit a final plan for approval by the Maine Department of Transportation. The proposal will also need Planning Board approval and Town Council adoption.

“The hope is to have the plan approved by this summer,” Jellis said. “Depending on how we finance the project, we are looking at construction anywhere from five to 15 years down the road.”

Jellis said there will be preliminary cost estimates available at the May 11 meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. in the Log Cabin at 196 Main St.

All phases of the Route 1 plan can be found on the town’s website

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.