A portion of Route 3 near Hulls Cove with a 48-inch tape measure laid in front of the traffic cone. Shoulders along the new road in this section will be four feet wide, narrower than in the Salisbury Cove area, but wider than they were before the reconstruction project. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SAM SHEPHERD

Route 3 width spurs concern

BAR HARBOR — As the first phase of the reconstruction of Route 3 nears completion, some residents are worried that shoulders on the new road are not as wide as they had hoped. And some claim the new road is different than the plans that were presented.

“For myself and others, we understood that when finished, the entire length of Route 3 would appear as it does at the head of the island,” Hulls Cove resident Tammy Packie said, “and would provide a safe corridor for locals commuting to work and visitors coming to Acadia.”

Bar Harbor Public Works Director Chip Reeves said that the state Department of Transportation and its contractor can’t adjust their plans on the fly.

“It was what was bid and what is being built,” he said. “They have a whole crew of inspectors, and those guys are watched like hawks.”

Plans for the reconstruction of Route 3 currently underway indicate 11-foot travel lanes and 4-foot shoulders. The approximate width of the shoulders before the project began is indicated with an “X” on either side of the drawing. IMAGE COURTESY OF BAR HARBOR PUBLIC WORKS

Each lane is 11 feet wide and the shoulders will be 4-5 feet wide, according to construction plans obtained from Bar Harbor Public Works. The shoulder on the old road was only about a foot wide.

Reeves added that the shoulders on the newly constructed Route 3 are narrower that other sections of the road, but that was based on federal requirements.

“Part of the problem on this particular project was that the DOT was constrained because they had to acquire property,” Reeves said. “When [other sections were] rebuilt, the federal requirement was larger. Now they’ve reduced that due to acquisition costs.”

Carmen Forzetting, an assistant engineer in the Maine Department of Transportation’s Highway Program, is working on the ground in Bar Harbor. She said in an interview that the shoulder width is “pretty decent,” considering the speed limit.

Packie said she also worried the slope of the new drainage ditches would make stopping unsafe.

“As it stands now, it appears to me the shoulders have been narrowed, not widened, and in many places, travel will become more dangerous due to the steep grades that now exist alongside the roadbed, as in Hulls Cove,” she said.

The plans called for 4-foot-long to 1-foot-deep drainage slopes from the road, with 2-foot to 1-foot slopes on the other side, Reeves said.

The preliminary plan for this section of Route 3 was decided by a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) committee after about one year of meetings.

“The CSS group came out with the scope of work,” Reeves said. “The next year, [they] met with the community advisory committee. The way it was going to be was developed around the scope of work.”

The DOT’s specifications for the lane size, shoulder length and multi-use path width all correspond with the plans laid out by the committee.

In addition to the shoulders, plans for the second phase to be built next year call for a multi-use path between downtown and the ferry terminal.



Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd

Samuel Shepherd is a University of Maine graduate and a former Bar Harbor reporter for the Mount Desert Islander.
Samuel Shepherd

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