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Spring target for Route 196 corridor plan in Topsham

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Spring target for Route 196 corridor plan in Topsham

TOPSHAM — A committee studying much of Route 196 may have a corridor plan for the road ready by next spring.

The Route 196 Corridor Committee was formed in May and will make recommendations to the town for improvements along an approximately seven-mile stretch of Route 196, from Interstate 295 west to the Lisbon town line.

Land uses are covered in the study, along with infrastructure, visual impacts of current and anticipated growth, and transportation. The study will also offer recommendations for how to adapt the rules and regulations that exist in order to reach the goals the town desires, along with other ways to meet those goals.

"Essentially, it's a comprehensive plan for the corridor," Planning Director Rich Roedner said on Tuesday.

The group continues to seek input from residents and business owners – most recently at a Nov. 28 forum – about the corridor's current condition, and what improvements they would like made.

One sentiment expressed consistently was that commercial or residential development activity should remain closer to the Route 196-Interstate 295 interchange, according to Roedner. Also discussed was creation of pockets of mixed uses along the road, such as residences located around a convenience store.

The committee, which is being aided by the Wright-Pierce engineering firm, meets at the Topsham Public Library the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. The meetings are open to the public, and another forum may be held in late January or early February 2013.

More information on the project can be found at the Planning Department page at topshammaine.com. Contact Roedner with questions at 725-1724 or rroedner@topshammaine.com.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.