MADISON — Residents will have the opportunity Tuesday to weigh in on a proposal to install a warning system at an intersection on state Route 148 that has been the site of numerous accidents.

The Maine Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 6 p.m. at the Old Point Avenue School. Blackwell Hill and Russell roads and Route 148 come together at the four-way intersection. Blackwell Hill Road turns into Russell Road after it crosses Route 148, which is White School House Road in Madison.

“I don’t know what the official numbers are, but that has been the site of I’d say at least a handful of accidents over the last five or six years, including one fatality,” said interim Town Manager Tim Curtis.

Officials said the intersection has poor visibility because of vegetation and the curve in the road.

In June 2012 a Skowhegan man was killed when his motorcycle was struck by a sport utility vehicle at the intersection. The SUV was turning left onto Blackwell Hill Road when it crossed in front of the motorcycle, throwing Michael Dyer Jr., the rider of the motorcycle, off the bike, police said.

According to the Department of Transportation, the intersection qualifies as a site with a high number of crashes, with four crashes being reported between 2010 and 2012, said Aurele Gorneau, a project manager for the department.

The department is planning to install a yellow flashing light across from stop signs on both Blackwell Hill Road and Russell Road that would use sensors to warn drivers at the stop signs of oncoming cars, Gorneau said. The system, called an intersection conflict warning system, is relatively new to the state and so far has been installed in only a handful of places, he said.

If a vehicle is approaching on Route 148, the sign will light up and indicate to drivers on the intersecting roads whether it is coming from the left or the right.

The advantage of the system is that, unlike a stop sign alone or a flashing red light, the system lets drivers know if a car is approaching the intersection, Gorneau said.

“The light will only flash if a vehicle is coming,” Gorneau said. “Obviously motorists still need to look to make sure there is nothing coming. It’s the drivers responsibility to make that decision to come out, but this will pick up the car coming before they can physically see it.”

Curtis said several residents said they’re concerned about the safety of the intersection over the last few years.

“The aim is to make people who are traveling and coming into Madison aware that there is an intersection coming up,” he said. “We hope some of the residents who have raised these concerns come and see exactly what DOT plans to do and if it will address their concern.”

The warning system installation would be paid for by the state, and construction would take about a week to two weeks, Gorneau said. The project will be introduced to the public Tuesday night.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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