Route 88 in Yarmouth due for improvement, Route 1 study goes to Town Council

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YARMOUTH — Two major road improvement projects are on the horizon in Yarmouth.

The Route 88 paving project could begin soon, and Phase II of the Route 1 corridor study has been endorsed by the Planning Board and is scheduled to go before the Town Council for approval Thursday, Oct. 1.

Town Engineer Dan Jellis said bids for Route 88 improvements will be returned to the town by Oct. 7 and construction is expected to begin soon thereafter.

The project will include pavement replacement along Route 88 from Smith Street to Bayview Street, Jellis said, and upgrades to the existing sidewalks. The estimated total cost of the project is $1.3 million; the state’s share is $933,000 and the town will pay $365,000.

Work that could be completed before the first snow includes drainage work and some sidewalk improvements.

Jellis said the project will be compete by June 30, 2010.

The Route 1 road improvement project is more long-term, and spans from the Visitor Information Center to the Cumberland town line. The three-part project started in 2005. Phase I has been approved by the Town Council, and Phase II has been unanimously endorsed by the Planning Board.

The second phase includes three roundabouts in place of the traffic lights at Forest Falls Drive, Hannaford Plaza and the East Main Street ramp. The Gateway Committee’s recommendations include more bicycle and pedestrian access along Route 1, raised sidewalks when possible, green space and plantings in the median, and full access to businesses from the roadway. The report can be found on the town’s Web site under Engineering in Town Departments.

The cost of completing Phase II is estimated at $5 million, Jellis said.

“We don’t expect anything to happen quickly,” Jellis said. “We want to look into state, federal and private funding, and keep working on the project.”

Phase III of the study will start over the winter and will address improvements from Main Street to the Cumberland town line, Jellis said, including access on and off Exit 15 of Interstate 295, areas around the North Yarmouth Academy arena, and the property behind the Mobil station. Construction costs for Exit 15 improvements have already been funded by the Maine Department of Transportation, he said.

As of now, there is no access to I-295 North from Route 1, and Jellis said the improvements are necessary for safety and accessibility. The improvements would create a new pattern for traffic getting from Route 1 to I-295 North.

“The plan also includes a park-and-ride and a different southbound pattern onto Route 1,” he said. “There is no local contribution in the Exit 15 plan, it is all funded by federal and state money.”

The Phase III study will cost about $45,000, Jellis said, and the council would have to approve $9,000 for the Gateway Committee to continue the process.

He said he expects the Phase III plan to be ready for public review by late spring. Then, all three phases will be integrated as a master plan for improvements to the entire Route 1 corridor.

“It has been a long process, but these improvements are necessary for safety and the vision of Route 1,” Jellis said.

The next Gateway Committee meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Community Room.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or