OAKLAND — The intersections of Oak and Pleasant streets and Oak and Heath streets will be upgraded to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow in the coming months.

On Thursday at 6 p.m., the Maine Department of Transportation will host a public meeting to discuss the details of the plan and hear any community concerns about the project. The meeting will take place at the Cascade Room in the Oakland Police Station on Fairfield Street.

Town Manager Gary Bowman said that one of the chief concerns with these intersections is their proximity to Williams Elementary School and Ralph M. Atwood Primary School.

“Coming off of Heath Street, it’s little kids that are actually crossing Oak Street,” he said. “There’s going to be a raised bed, like a speed bump, that comes up a little bit so that it will be beneficial to the speed of traffic. There will also be flashing lights to let people know that little people are crossing the road.”

Individuals will be able to push a button that will trigger the crossing lights and stop traffic. Bowman said the button may also control the traffic signal to allow pedestrians time to walk across the road.

“There used to be a crossing guard (there),” Bowman said. “For whatever reason, that’s no longer an option.”

According to Bowman, the project is financed by a state grant that the town and Regional School Unit 18 received five or six years ago. He attributed the time lag between the receipt of the grant and the actual construction to the DOT “just getting the time to do it now.”

As part of the project, the crosswalks between Oak and Pleasant streets as well as Oak and Heath streets will be brought into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. Bowman noted that the current crossings are “difficult for people in wheelchairs.”

According to the public meeting notice issued by the DOT, a pedestrian ramp will be installed at Railroad Avenue. Detectable warning fields — bumpy rectangles of material on the ground designed to notify blind or visually impaired people of a curb — will be installed on each of the four corners of the Oak Street railroad crossing.

The notice also suggests that the “traffic signal, controller and cabinet” at the intersections of Oak and Pleasant streets will be replaced.

Aurele Gorneauii is managing the project for the DOT and will be in attendance at the meeting on Thursday.

“The Department is particularly interested in learning local views relative to project consistency with local comprehensive plans, discovering local resources, and identifying local concerns and issues,” the notice reads. “Anyone with an interest is invited to attend and participate in the meeting.”

Meg Robbins — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @megrobbins


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