The plan to build medians on Route 1 at the intersection of Depot and Jefferson streets will be discussed when the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen meets Tuesday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the town office.

The Department of Transportation’s $460,000 plan to install raised and flush medians is designed to calm traffic at that intersection, near the town office.

The DOT held two public hearings, May 10 and June 16. Residents at those meetings said they would prefer to have a traffic light at the intersection of Jefferson and Depot streets.

Selectmen on March 1 discussed the project with a concerned citizen, and agreed to put the issue on the March 8 agenda to get input from residents and business owners.

Interim Town Manager Eileen Dondlinger said at the March 1 meeting that the town can share its views on the project with the DOT, which has already awarded the construction contract for the project.

“If the town is no longer in favor of it, we can make those wishes known to DOT,” Dondlinger said. “It is their road, it’s a state and federal road. It’s not a town road. Our wishes not to do this would have some bearing just like it has some bearing to do it. So we’re at this stage where we have some citizens concerned with the project going through as proposed.”

Waldoboro resident Dennis Blanchet opposes the plan to install medians on Route 1, and he shared his concerns with selectmen on March 1.

The owner of the Waldoboro Pawn Shop, located at the intersection of Route 1 and Depot Street, has been meeting with members of the new administration in Augusta. He got their attention, and officials in Augusta are now more interested in Waldoboro’s views on that proposed project.

In his lobbying and research, he found the town’s original application for the project. That application describes the project’s broad community support, which Blanchet called a fraud. He said — and the interim town manager confirmed — that several town officials that signed onto the original application do not support the current median construction plan.

Blanchet specifically took issue with two parts of the town’s application for the project, which states: “The public responses during informal discussions with residents that live on Depot and Jefferson Street were very positive” and “Economically, this will enhance the accessibility of the four commercial businesses at the project intersection.”

Blanchet has criticized the plan because he said the medians would block some people from turning into Route 1 businesses. Blanchet said he has put more than 30 years of work into his Route 1 business.

“Waldoboro should say we’re not interested in taking taxpayer money and spending it on this project that is going to hurt local businesses,” Blanchet said at the March 1 Board of Selectmen meeting.

Blanchet said Waldoboro residents that attended the DOT hearings spoke against the project. He said the program application should not have said the project had the community’s support.

“DOT could not have this project unless they had community support,” Blanchet said. “And believe me, they don’t have it.”

Selectman Steve Cartwright said the state should have considered a traffic light. “I think what they’re proposing there costs more than a traffic light, and it really bothers me that the state says you have to have a certain number of cars before a traffic light is needed,” Cartwright said. “It makes no sense. It’s like saying, We won’t put in a traffic light until there’s a fatal accident there.”

Robert Butler attended one of the DOT public meetings at the Waldoboro Town Office. “I can remember how vociferous people were about not wanting what [the DOT is] planning on doing and wanting a traffic light,” Butler said.

Anyone interested in the Route 1 median project can attend the March 8 selectmen meeting and share their views.

filed under: