Neighbor slams state plans for road widening, tree-cutting

By Daniel Dunkle | Feb 10, 2014
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle The Maine Department of Transportation will likely add new paved shoulders to this busy stretch of Route 1 in Warren in the summer, cutting down trees and bringing the roadway closer to some area homes.

Warren — More than a decade after police dragged away protestors of the Route 1 road-widening project in Warren, a neighbor is again complaining about the state's plans to expand pavement and cut trees.

"We're just sick about it," said Diana Sewell Feb. 10 at her home on Route 1.

The Maine Department of Transportation plans to reconstruct the section of Route 1 that runs from Sandy Shores Road to Route 97 in Warren, according to project manager Ernie Martin. The plan is to add eight-foot-wide paved shoulders where there are gravel shoulders now.

He said this is the last piece of the Route 1 project to be completed in Warren, and the gravel shoulders are falling apart along this section of roadway. In addition, the state aims to improve drainage. Martin said drainage problems allow water to seep in and freeze, cracking and breaking up the pavement.

"It's a good project for Warren," he said. "It will improve safety out there."

The state is in the process of negotiating with property owners along Route 1 now, he said, and plans to put the project out to bid March 26. DOT hopes to begin construction in May or June and have it mostly finished this year, with some additional work in spring 2015.

As part of the negotiations, the transportation department has sent staff members to meet with neighbors including Sewell.

Sewell said the state has offered $2,300 for property rights to part of her property. Based on conversations with DOT staffers, she believes the state will bulldoze 10 or more trees lining the highway in front of her property and widen the road to within 10 feet of her home.

She is also worried that the project will involve blasting ledge connected to ledge on her property, potentially damaging her home, and she said the gardens she has worked very hard to create will be destroyed.

She called $2,300 an insult, arguing it would not cover the cost to replace what will be ruined.

Martin said the state is working to minimize impact to property owners on Route 1. He said that in some places, the shoulder will be about 4-feet wide rather than 8 feet to accommodate property owners. The most important factor is safety, he said.

"To give the DOT some credit," Sewell said in a letter to the editor, "they are planning to narrow the shoulder to 4 feet and not 8 along here. At 8 feet I could shake your hand as you drive by."

She disagrees with Martin that this will improve safety. She argued a wider, rebuilt road will only mean faster traffic and more accidents.

Her family has been on the property since the 18th century, she noted.

"When my fourth great-grandmother built this house, this was a little dirt path," she said.

In her own lifetime, she said she has seen traffic increase dramatically on this stretch of Route 1, with big trucks shaking her house as they go past.

(See her full letter in The Courier-Gazette Feb. 13).

Martin said that once the project is completed in Warren, the state will begin work on Route 1 in Thomaston. He anticipates a public hearing on that project soon, possibly in April.

Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at or 594-4401 ext. 122.

Comments (8)
Posted by: Don Dickinson | Feb 13, 2014 13:13

This project is long overdue and should have been completed years ago when it was supposed to be. Route 1 between Thomaston and Sandy Shores Rd. is in a deplorable and very unsafe condition!!!

Posted by: GLORIA l. BAGLEY | Feb 13, 2014 08:00

I would feel the same, Susan. I'm sorry that you have to be scrutinized and criticized . Some readers have very strong opinions about things they don't even understand. That's my two cents worth!! If I had to be in the same situation, concerning my trees, yard and gardens, I would be heart broken.

Posted by: GLORIA l. BAGLEY | Feb 13, 2014 07:58

I would feel the same, Susan. I'm sorry that you have to be scrutinized and criticized . Some readers have very strong opinions about things they don't even understand. That's my two cents worth!! If I had to be in the same situation, concerning my trees, yard and gardens I would be heart broken.

Posted by: RUTH ROWLING MAXFIELD | Feb 12, 2014 14:31

Sympathy to those home owners involved . . but understand that the work must be done.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Feb 11, 2014 09:21

The landowners who are going to be affected knew over a decade ago that this was going to happen at some point.  That the Maine DOT was going to finish widening Rt 1.  This is a very dangerous stretch of road.  I was against cutting down old old trees and taking away some people's property.  Well, that is really not true because the State does own so many feet from the middle of the road onto property owners yards.  With that said, I change my mind after the work was done.  Safer driving, less pot holes, and it looks nice.  Please, Ms. Sewall, since you did say that the Maine DOT is working with you and will only widen in front of your property, 4 feet, why put up a sink.  Deal with it, get over it and get on with your life.  I am sure that sweating the small stuff, and it will seem small after all is said and done, is not how you want to spend your time.


Posted by: Russell Garfield York | Feb 11, 2014 05:06

get over it the road should have be done when the other secetion was

Posted by: Susan Sinclair | Feb 11, 2014 04:40

The area is growing all the time, and even the side roads should have safer, wider PAVED shoulders. It's a shame that old houses are affected, but the legitimate needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few.

Posted by: Frank Brown | Feb 10, 2014 23:05

I understand where the home owners are coming from, but when passing large trucks on this stretch of road it is very dangerous. If anyone is not paying attention there is no where to go. This is especially true near the farm stand going north around the sharp corner. When cars are stopped turning left it is very dangerous. Most traffic headed north of Rockland/Thomaston knows to take rt 90 but as Rockland grows, so will the need for a safer rt 1.

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