SOUTH PORTLAND — The Maine Department of Transportation’s annual plan for local road construction is ambitious, if there is enough money to go around.
“We are about $100 million short each year of where we need to be,” DOT spokesman Ted Talbot said last week, after the department released a three-year work schedule for the state.
Voter approval of a $100 million bond to fund highway projects has allowed the DOT to set a three-year work schedule of $2 billion in projects, including $455 million this year.
Locally, it includes adding a left-turn lane to southbound Gorham Road at the Running Hill Road intersection in Scarborough, repaving a stretch of Billy Vachon Drive in South Portland, and repaving 1.3 miles of Ocean House Road from just south of the Inn by the Sea to Fowler Road in Cape Elizabeth.
Projects planned in South Portland amount to almost $776,000. The most expensive job – repaving Western Avenue from near the Gorham Road intersection to outer Congress Street in Portland – is estimated to cost $258,000.
Repaving Cottage Road from Broadway to Ocean Street in Knightville is estimated to cost $192,500.
The work on Route 77 is the only Cape Elizabeth project, estimated to cost $574,000.
The Gorham Road left-turn lane, estimated to cost $335,000, is part of $2.14 million in projects planned for Scarborough this year.
Long a source of congestion between County and Payne roads at rush hour, the widened Gorham and Running Hill roads intersection will allow southbound vehicles a way to safely pass turning vehicles.
But Town Manager Tom Hall said last week it is not a solution to the wider problem.
“It is a Band-Aid,” he said. “It doesn’t speak to overall issues of traffic volume.”
Plans to widen the Gorham Road-Running Hill Road intersection for a left-turn lane are welcomed, but not seen as a solution to rush-hour congestion in Scarborough.