Main Street lane added to keep

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – A widening project is under way on North Main Street/Route 1 designed to ease traffic congestion for north-south traffic.  “It was a requirement by the state to extend the left-turn lane past Tang’s entrance as part of the development of the property that now serves as the home to four businesses, including Family Dollar and USDA,” said Gerry James, Presque Isle’s public works director.

   Although the project is in Presque Isle, James said it is actually under the supervision of the Maine Department of Transportation.
Work began about a week ago and is expected to be completed later this summer.
“Work is being performed by Soderberg Construction, of Caribou, and is being done in conjunction with the developer,” said Jim McGinnis, a regional transportation engineer based with DOT’s Presque Isle office.
According to McGinnis, the developer, Ellis Entertainment, is paying for the project as part of the agreement that allowed for the construction of the business complex next to Tang’s. McGinnis did not have a dollar figure on what the project cost.
“The change was part of the traffic movement permit. Any time a developer puts in something that creates more than 100 vehicles per hour during peak hours, they’re required to do such to ensure safety,” said McGinnis.
The added lane will ease congestion at peak hours, allowing traffic to continue to flow smoothly to the north and south, while providing a spot for those wishing to make the turn into the parking lot. Although no major accidents have occurred since the building was completed, several minor fender-benders have happened when drivers failed to use blinkers or didn’t notice cars stopping to make the turn. The upgrade will help alleviate such issues.
“This will be an extension of the fifth lane that already exists near Wal-Mart,” said McGinnis. “When the developer submitted plans for construction, the plans included widening along this stretch of Main Street. The project should be completed within a month.”
When finished, the bottleneck that now occurs with traffic at various times of day should be a thing of the past.
“This should keep north- and southbound traffic moving more smoothly,” said McGinnis.