KINGFIELD — Project Manager Rhobe Moulton told residents Thursday night a proposed 2.3-mile road reconstruction project on Routes 16 and 27 is not among those recently cut by the Maine Department of Transportation.

“We are moving into the final design phase of this project,” Moulton said. “It is currently funded at $7.2 million through the U.S Department of Transportation. We are very lucky to have federal funding in place for this project.”

Projects in Woodstock and Fryeburg are also funded through the grant, she said.

Reconstruction will begin at the southern intersection of High Street and continue about three-quarters of a mile north of Tufts Pond Road, she said.

The project will address safety concerns, including widening the travel lanes to 11 feet, adding 5-foot shoulders and adding DA-compliant sidewalks, according to designer Dana Pride.

Improved drainage, additional ditching and new catch basins will address drainage issues, she said.

Concerns raised by residents at a June 2016 meeting on the removal of a historic watering trough and significant reduction of village parking spaces were taken into consideration, Pride said.

“We will not take away the monument,” she said. “Instead of losing eight of the current 40 parking spaces, we have redesigned the plans and you will only lose one.”

An alignment shift in the roadway will preserve a historic stone wall on the southern end of the project. Another shift wnear the center of the project will reinforce the bank along the Carrabassett River, she said.

The next step is acquiring property rights, either through purchase or easements, according to appraiser Brian Sanderson.

Affected property owners will be sent certified letters outlining the process, he added.

Residents raised concerns over speed, traffic noise and snow removal.

Jim Benoit said he was concerned about the possibility of losing a lilac hedge he planted between the road and his home. He added the project would move the edge of the road to within 8 feet of his house.

“We put that in for a sound buffer,” he said. “If we lose it, the truck traffic would really affect us.”

“We are going to do all we can to save the lilac,” Moulton said.

Resident Mike Spardello shared his worries about noise and safety, saying, “I’m concerned a smooth road is just going to be able to make traffic go faster.”

There is funding available for radar-activated lights to warn drivers to slow down, Moulton said.

Benoit, meanwhile, said snow removal could cause snow to accumulate against his house and others  in the narrow corridor.

Plow operators would have to move snow farther ahead, where it could be pushed off the road, Moulton said.

Moulton said residents’ comments will be considered as work continues on the project’s final design.

The project is expected to be advertised in the fall of 2020, Moulton added.


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