Route 3 redo wins support

BAR HARBOR — The Route 3 rebuild project advisory committee gave its unanimous support to the project when they met Aug. 20, Town Manager Cornell Knight said. But the group still wants a clearer idea of what the completed project will look like.

“It was discussed that there’s going to be change, but over time, it will look good,” Knight said Friday. “There was discussion about individual issues about tree canopy, how wide it’s going to be, the change in look and speed concerns,” he added.

Public Works Director Chip Reeves reviewed a presentation prepared by the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) team, none of whom were present at the meeting. Reeves will pass along feedback to the DOT, Knight said, especially a request for updated drawings of the completed project, showing paved shoulders, sidewalks and a multi-use path planned for a section of the road.

“The DOT should provide us visualizations of Route 3 continuously from Pirate’s Cove to the intersection of Eden Street,” committee member and Harbor Lane property owner James Blanchard said Tuesday. “There are historic items that may or may not be in jeopardy.” He’s particularly concerned about historic granite walls that extend from the College of the Atlantic to Harbor Lane.

The group hopes to have the renderings well in advance of a public meeting planned for this fall, he said, “so we know whether there’s a problem, the extent of a problem, or whether we can all relax.”

The West Street Historic District extends from West Street out of town to some of the former summer estates now owned by the COA. “Because it is in the historic district, it is necessary for DOT to enter into some agreement with a Maine Historic Preservation officer as to treatment” of historic resources, Blanchard said.

A memorandum of agreement was drafted a few years ago, Knight said. Blanchard said he is concerned that its language is too vague.

Other committee members expressed concerns that a wider road would encourage motorists to speed up. Lt. David Kerns of the Bar Harbor Police Department told the group that the section of Route 3 further out of town is statistically safer than the Hulls Cove corridor, even though the former has a faster speed limit. That is because of the wider travel lanes and paved shoulders, Knight said.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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