THOMASTON — There are many reasons for Thomaston not to build the proposed east-west bypass highway, according to resident Joanne Richards.

“If it gets to the point that it goes to a vote, I’ll do everything in my power to stop it,” she said.

The town has authorized spending up to $20,000 with Dirigo Engineering to create a feasibility study on the highway, which is part of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan.

The April 2020 proposal from Dirigo Engineering states that the road “should connect with US Route 1 on the west side of Thomaston in the vicinity of the Toll Bridge Road and extend to Old County Road toward Dexter Street.”

A June 24 email from Pollution Control Superintendent John Fancy, which asked the town to begin the feasibility study, included a map with two possible routes.

Richards said this map has the proposed highway coming right up against her back yard, as well as going through two cape homes and a farm house belonging to her neighbors.

If the highway comes up the area known as Dragon Mountain, Richards said it will impact the whole area.

While no one from the town has spoken to Richards about trying to purchase her land yet, Richards is still concerned.

“What are the chances of me being able to purchase another house in Thomaston?” she asked. “There’s nothing.”

If the town moves forward with the road, that will be an issue for her and others who own property along the route.

Some residents Richards has spoken with have said they are not worried, because this road has been discussed for years and will probably never happen.

Other residents were not aware of the proposed highway before news broke the story in the middle of September, and Richards said they have contacted her with worries that the highway could go through their back yards or even their houses.

Richards said she may be worried over nothing, and the highway could never happen, but the 2020 Comprehensive Plan could be the driving factor behind the sudden forward momentum on the project.

Along with the money authorized for the feasibility study, the Thomaston Select Board held a closed-door executive session meeting with Dirigo on Sept. 13 to discuss the project.

The plan mentions this highway several times as a means to allow emergency services vehicles through, make Main Street “more appealing to homeowners” and provide an “alternative for heavy truck and commuter traffic through the downtown.”

Richards has huge concerns about these ideas, though. The town has been working very hard to get the downtown revitalized and bring in new businesses, and now are in talks to build a bypass and redirect traffic away from there.

“Think about Damariscotta,” she said. Growing up, the only way to Portland was to drive through downtown Damariscotta. Now there is a Route 1 bypass, and Richards no longer goes to downtown Damariscotta unless it is her destination.

This bypass would do the same for Thomaston, and downtown businesses will not have enough customers to stay in operation. “The town becomes basically dead,” Richards said.

Thomaston’s next Select Board meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m.