A Department of Transportation official attended the March 8 Waldoboro Board of Selectmen meeting to hear comments on the project to build medians on Route 1 near Depot and Jefferson streets to calm traffic.

Selectmen did not take any votes at the March 8 meeting on this project but Interim Town Manager Eileen Dondlinger said her directive from the Board of Selectmen was to tell the DOT that the town wants to go ahead with the Route 1 median project.

As with the previous two public hearings on this project, several residents said they would prefer a traffic light at that intersection.

But the DOT’s Steve Landry said the traffic counts at that intersection do not warrant a light. Landry, the assistant state traffic engineer, said he was at the meeting to hear concerns about the $460,000 plan to install raised and flush medians at that intersection near the town office.

He said Waldoboro could ask for the project to not go forward. But if the project is canceled, Waldoboro would have to pay $80,000 that has already been spent on the project, plus expenses incurred by the construction firm that was awarded the contract.

Dennis Blanchet is opposed to this project and has been lobbying against it with state and local officials. At the March 8 meeting, he said the town’s project application should not have said the project had community support and would enhance businesses at the intersection of Depot and Jefferson streets.

“This project was applied for under false pretenses,” Blanchet said. “It was said that it had the support of the community. It doesn’t and didn’t. It said it was going to be a benefit for business. It’s not. Because of those reasons, I think the town should start from scratch on this and realize that for this project — for two years we were told nothing but lies.”

Until last week, Blanchet — and selectmen — had not seen the application created by former Town Manager William Post. Blanchet called the application “misinformation or lies.”

Blanchet said residents that attended the DOT’s public hearings in May and June 2010 did not support the median project. Blanchet said the DOT and the town manager met after those meetings and decided to move forward with the project.

“I would ask the town to turn this project down,” Blanchet said.

Selectman Steve Cartwright said he supports the Route 1 median project, with a crosswalk, although he too said he wanted a traffic light at the intersection. “I don’t want to wait another 20 years to see something done for people having a safe passage across Route 1,” Cartwright said. “I think this is a hell of a good start. I support this.”

Selectman Robert Butler called the project “optimal” given the federal money available for the project the need for safety.

filed under: