AUGUSTA — Some of the new street names proposed by a committee given the task of eliminating confusing or similar-sounding street names could cause more confusion, not reduce it, some city councilors worry.

The E911 Street Name Council Subcommittee studied ways to eliminate confusing or similar-sounding street names and was asked to recommend names for new roads being added as part of the new Exit 113 interchange. Officials worried that similar-sounding street names could cause confusion for emergency responders trying to find them.

The subcommittee’s proposed names include Calumet Connector for the Route 3 connector from Interstate 95 to North Belfast Avenue, and Calumet Roundabout for the eastern traffic circle associated with the Exit 113 modifications.

Officials are concerned those names could prove to be confusing, because the roads proposed to have “Calumet” in their names don’t lead to the Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western in the city’s downtown; they lead, instead, to the Cushnoc Crossing bridge, the newest of three vehicular bridges over the Kennebec River in Augusta.

“I have some concerns about the Calumet Connector and Calumet Roundabout,” Councilor Mark O’Brien said. “We have the Calumet Bridge at Old Fort Western, and here we’re talking about the area connected to the bridge farther up the river (Cushnoc Crossing). To me it just doesn’t make sense to have similar names for similar structures. If the third bridge is Cushnoc Crossing, the road connecting to it should be Cushnoc Connector.”

However, Matt Nazar, development director, said Augusta already has a Cushnoc Street, so it could create still more confusion to add more “Cushnoc” street names.

Councilor Cecil Munson, a member of the street naming subcommittee, said the existing Cushnoc Street is a residential street, so changing its name would affect residents, whereas the Route 3 connector does not have any residences on it. That’s one reason the committee did not suggest naming it the Cushnoc Connector, and changing Cushnoc Street to some other name.

“We’re trying to minimize the impact on residents,” Munson said.

O’Brien suggested calling the connector simply the Route 3 Connector.

Munson expressed concern that sounded too sterile, though others said at least people would know where it is.

Councilors Jeffrey Bilodeau and Darek Grant are the other members of the subcommittee.

Bilodeau said it was the committee’s “first blush” at street naming and said members are open to suggestions.

Mayor William Stokes suggested the committee work on the street names for another 30 days and report back to councilors. He said when the committee was formed, members were warned it would be a challenging, and potentially thankless, task.

Councilor Patrick Paradis said councilors should take their time.

“I think we can come up with something,” Paradis said. “What Councilor O’Brien says is very real. We don’t want confusion. The whole reason for the subcommittee is to reduce confusion.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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