Topsham to add traffic light at troublesome intersection

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen opted Aug. 1 to install a traffic light to address complaints about traffic at the intersection of Monument Place and Mallet Drive.

But the board chose not to add signs at the intersection of Main and Pleasant streets, where reports suggest there have been rear-end collisions due to inattentive or drunken drivers.

Statistics have not shown Monument Place and Mallett Drive to be high-crash locations, Police Chief Christopher Lewis said in June, and speed has not appeared to be a factor in crashes, he said. Rather, most incidents have resulted from drivers leaving Mallett Drive and hitting vehicles traveling along Monument Place.

The board had asked Lewis to look into installation of a caution light, along with additional street lighting, at the intersection. Selectmen chose last week to have a blinking light installed, showing red on Mallett Drive and yellow on Monument Place. It should go up this fall, Town Manager Cornell Knight said Aug. 4.

Lewis said in June that the board asked him to look into prohibiting drivers from passing on the right at Main and Pleasant streets, after Selectman Ronald Riendeau said motorists had been riding on the curb to get past vehicles waiting to turn left from Main Street onto Pleasant Street.

Since a driver riding a curb would be passing improperly under state law, the question was whether the town should draft an ordinance barring all passing on the right on Main Street, the chief said.

“If it’s an improper pass, if (the driver goes) up over the curb, the police can issue a summons for an improper pass,” Knight said. “But they have to see it, whether there’s a sign there or not.”

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

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.