AUGUSTA — City councilors will consider Thursday whether to notify state transportation officials that permanently allowing left turns out of Marketplace Drive onto Townsend Road is the right thing to do.

As part of the now-winding-down reconstruction of Mount Vernon Avenue, state Department of Transportation officials agreed to temporarily allow drivers leaving the Martketplace at Augusta to make left turns out of Marketplace Drive onto Townsend Road, an intersection where previously only right turns were allowed.

Augusta city councilors frequently mentioned, over the last two years in meetings with transportation officials, that they want that change to become permanent. Thursday, they’re scheduled to consider approving a formal request to the transportation department to allow left turns there.

Councilor Patrick Paradis, who sponsored the proposal, said he anticipates unanimous support from the council, and likely the same level of support for keeping left turns from his neighbors in Ward 3, where the intersection is located.

“It has been a great success. I haven’t heard any negatives about it,” Paradis said. “People like the fact you can take a left, and go east on Townsend. It’s a great time saver. Especially for the residents of the Sand Hill area who can take that left and not have to go onto Civic Center Drive and add to the traffic there.”

Many drivers, before being allowed to do so, illegally took left turns out of the Marketplace over the last few years.

Transportation department officials were initially hesitant to allow left turns permanently, out of concern it could increase traffic on Townsend Road, which in turn could lead to congestion at the intersection of Townsend Road and Northern Avenue nearby.

Paradis said allowing left turns onto Townsend Road did not seem to add significantly to traffic on Townsend.

City Manager William Bridgeo said state transportation officials have indicated they are set to allow left turns there permanently, but wanted a formal indication that city officials want to do so before proceeding.

Councilors are set to consider approving making such a request to the state when they meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center.

Councilors are also scheduled to:

• Consider a final vote on a proposed new Historic District Ordinance. The ordinance has been controversial, with some residents of the district complaining about requirements that most exterior renovations to their homes would have to be approved by a new city board. However, councilors and Mayor David Rollins, who was chairman of the committee that proposed the ordinance, have since agreed to consider adopting the ordinance without defining the physical district where the new rules would apply. The ordinance instead would create the new Augusta Historic District Review Board, a committee of local residents, and give that board the responsibility of proposing the boundaries which will determine what parts of the city, and which homes and other buildings, are within the district;

• Recognize Clarence “Bug” Cram, public works foreman, for 37 years of service;

• Hear a presentation on restoring Augusta’s bat habitat and a proposal to involve local students in building and placing bat houses, from Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist Cory Mosby, Paradis, and James Holland, director of Capital Area Technical Center and;

• Accept the donation from Kennebec Savings Bank of a historic stained glass window, which previously was in the former Augusta train station, to be installed in the renovated Lithgow Public Library.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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