Master plan under way in Scarborough for Pine Point traffic improvements

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SCARBOROUGH — Although actual construction could still be four to five years away, the town is in the process of seeking funding for significant roadway improvements to East Grand Avenue and the entire Pine Point peninsula.

The work would address aging infrastructure issues, and respond to frequent flooding that can often make the roads in the area impassable.

Residents at a neighborhood meeting last week were introduced to the goals for the roadway project, which will be completed in phases and include better accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The project will also include a redesign to reflect on-street parking that will be allowed; new approaches to the major intersection of Pine Point Road and East Grand; new crosswalks; additional green space; and design initiatives that would take into account the impact of sea-level rise.

Town engineer Angela Blanchette said the Nov. 15 meeting “was well attended, by over 60 residents.”

During the meeting, “the design team provided basic concepts to help initiate feedback,” she said, adding that “another public meeting to discuss the preliminary design and to modify and fine-tune” the project would be held after the town submits its funding request to the Maine Department of Transportation and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, or PACTS, in February.

Blanchette said the final design and implementation of the roadway project on East Grand and other streets in Pine Point would ultimately depend on the needs and the overall funding available. She said “a budgetary cost of the project will be determined over the winter as part of the preliminary design phase.”

“The Pine Point area has been a focal point of discussion with town staff and council over the past years as aging infrastructure and the overall inadequacy of the roadway design has been considered for improvements,” Blanchette added this week.

“The East Grand Avenue corridor from Pine Point Road to the Old Orchard Beach town line has been prioritized as having the greatest need for improvements,” she said. “The corridor is plagued with flooding issues, poor pavement surface, an aging water main and substandard sidewalks.”

Blanchette said that “prior to investing money to overhaul this roadway, the town is looking to incorporate a master planning process for the overall Pine Point area in order to provide a cohesive and unified plan. Due to funding, however, the implementation of the plan will need to be broken into multiple phases for construction.”

She said the East Grand Avenue corridor “would be considered the first phase, followed by the abutting side streets to East Grand Avenue, which are experiencing flooding, then the intersection improvements at the Pine Point Road and East Grand Avenue intersection, and lastly a comprehensive review and design of the remaining Pine Point peninsula.”

Blanchette said since the East Grand travel corridor is considered a state road, funding for the project would likely be available from the Department of Transportation, which means the town would not have to shoulder the entire cost of the roadway improvement project.

“The goal for this first step in the larger (master planning) process is to submit an application to PACTS in February to help fund the project with state monies,” she said. “This funding stream is for construction funds for the 2020 and 2021 construction seasons. While this may seem far out, the planning and design work that will need to take place between now and then will be ongoing and include additional public meetings and opportunities for public feedback and comment.”

Scarborough has begun a master planning process for roadway improvements in Pine Point.

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