A pickup travels along Fairfield Street in Oakland on Friday as an SUV waits on Gagnon Road before proceeding. Town officials are considering ways to make the intersection safer because of several traffic wrecks that have occurred there in recent years. Gagnon Road becomes County Road on the other side of Fairfield Street. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

OAKLAND — Town officials are looking to introduce new safety measures at an intersection that the town manager says has become a “high-crash area.”

They’re eyeing changes to Fairfield Street where it meets Gagnon Road in an area just west of Messalonskee Stream and not far from Quarry Road Trails in Waterville. It’s in the far northeastern corner of Oakland. Gagnon Road runs west of Fairfield Street and turns into County Road on the east side of Fairfield.

There are stop signs on Gagnon and County roads directing motorists to yield to traffic on Fairfield.

But a report published this week by the Maine Department of Transportation indicates there have been 21 crashes at the intersection in 10 years. Sixteen of those crashes have occurred in the last five years. All but four occurred during daylight hours.

That trend is worrying the Town Council which this week discussed adding safety measures.

“Either that part of the road is being traveled more or people aren’t paying attention,” Town Manager Ella Bowman told the council Wednesday.


Nine people have been hurt in the wrecks that occurred at the intersection over the last 10 years, according to the DOT report.

“Fortunately, we haven’t had any fatalities yet but I think it’s just a matter of time,” Bowman said. “I think we need to step up what we’re doing.”

She said drivers may not be seeing the stop signs, particularly the one on County Road, and said installing flashing yellow or red traffic lights could improve the safety of motorists.

Adding to safety concerns is a trail for all-terrain vehicles that crosses over the intersection. Councilor Dana Wrigley suggested rerouting that trail.

The town does not yet have an estimate on the cost to install traffic lights, Bowman said, and the matter has been forwarded to town police.

“It will be reviewed, traffic counts will be conducted and we’ll meet for a site visit when all the data is accumulated,” Bowman said in an email Thursday. “It’s a process.”

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