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Maine DOT plans Route 161 upgrades

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation has issued a new comprehensive work plan for the maintenance and continued improvement of the route 161 corridor from Fort Kent to Allagash.

According to a press release from Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, the plan directly responds to concerns raised by residents and town officials at a recent St. Francis forum which he organized with Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt.

“It makes a huge difference when the decision-makers in Augusta take the time to travel to The County and really experience for themselves the state of our roads,” said Jackson. “Route 161 has been in desperate need of repair for a long time. With so many residents relying on the road to get to work and send their kids to school, I’m glad we could work with the Department to come up with a smart action plan that will keep us all safer in the long run.”

The DOT has already placed an estimated 800 tons of shimming along the route — more than what was originally planned — and has repaved the road to keep it serviceable for the time being. The department has also agreed to re-engineer several problem areas and add a three-foot shoulder.

“This is a big deal. Over the next decade, the whole road will be upgraded and the forum played an essential role in making that happen,” said Sen. Jackson. “It just goes to show the power of a community coming together and demanding action.”

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