Last June, I was traveling to Belfast from Augusta around the overpass from Route 202 and Interstate 95, marveling at the forest amongst the pavement and how wonderful it is to live in the state of Maine. A week later I traveled the same road and the forest was gone. I was devastated. Now that intersection in Augusta looks like the New Jersey Turnpike and not my beloved Maine.

In a letter I received in response to my inquiry from the Maine Department of Transportation about why the trees were taken down read: “Generally, when MaineDOT cuts trees, it’s to allow more sun to get to the roadway to melt the winter snow and ice, to prevent large animals from hiding among the trees where they can’t be seen starting to enter the highway, and to improve visibility for people entering or exiting the road. In these particular spots, safety is paramount.”

All of the Maine Turnpike, I-95 and I-295 is bordered by trees where winter snow, ice and large animals are present and the trees are only cut back on the border on the road. This intersection in Augusta has not been made safer.

The mind has to concentrate on all those visible roads instead of simply on the road ahead. For me it is very confusing and unsafe without the forest there buffering my mind from all the confusion. Both intersections were perfectly safe before the trees came down and now the drivers have lost a beautiful forest that is so iconic to the state of Maine.


Mary L. Richards


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