MOUNT DESERT — The town will spend up to $8,000 for a crosswalk improvement plan and $20,000 for testing services in connection with an upcoming Route 198 reconstruction project.
The Board of Selectmen approved the expenditures Monday night.
Last spring, Public Works Director Tony Smith and Highway Superintendent Ben Jacobs attended a Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) workshop on crosswalk design, location and safety. Smith said he realized after the workshop that “most of our crosswalks are noncompliant.”
A preliminary evaluation of the town’s 50 crosswalks was conducted in May by Smith, Jacobs and Patrick Adams, the DOT’s manager of bicycle and pedestrian programs.
“We discovered that none of our crosswalks are in conformance with typical design or ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] standards,” Smith said at the time.
Most of the problems they identified had to do with location, sight distance, signage and handicap accessibility.
Smith said in a memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt last week that he and engineering firm CES Inc. have reviewed the DOT’s report on the 50 crosswalks that were inspected. He said 17 of those crosswalks would be addressed by the Main Street improvement project or could be eliminated from consideration for other reasons.
Of the 33 remaining crosswalks, Smith and CES agreed on 10 as high priorities for improvement. They are in Northeast Harbor, Otter Creek, Pretty Marsh, Seal Harbor and Somesville.
With the $8,000 maximum the selectmen have authorized spending, CES is to “identify what is needed to get a particular crosswalk to conform to DOT and ADA requirements, if at all possible,” Smith said.
CES’s work also is to include designing a solution to the crosswalk deficiencies and handling bidding and construction management.
Route 198 project
Voters at town meeting in May authorized the town to borrow up to $500,000 to pay half the cost of rebuilding about 1.1 miles of Route 198 between Parkman Mountain and Sargeant Drive.
The DOT will pay the other half through its Municipal Project Initiative.
The selectmen previously authorized paying G.F. Johnston & Associates $149,000 for design, bidding and construction-related services. Smith requested that $20,000 of that amount be released now for test borings.
“These borings are required,” he said, “so we know how thick the pavement is that we will be grinding up and leaving in place, what type of material is under the pavement … and will there be extra ground-up material we can use elsewhere on the project rather than having to import additional from offsite.”
Reconstruction of the 1.1-mile stretch of Route 198 is expected to take place next spring.
Voters at the May town meeting may be asked to authorize spending another $500,000 to partner with the DOT in rebuilding the 1-mile section of the road between Sargeant Drive and Eagle Lake Road.