Editorial: Final push

The Maine Department of Transportation’s $18 million project to rebuild a 4.8-mile section of Route 3 in Bar Harbor, which began in the spring of 2017, is back in action. Although paving can’t begin until the weather gets reliably warm, cleanup and site work have begun, along with more adjustments to sidewalks and catch basins.

During the construction to date, residents, businesses and visitors have adapted well to disruptions including detours that took many folks miles out of their way. That was largely thanks to proactive communication by DOT, working in concert with the towns, chambers of commerce and other groups.

That communication has not been as forthcoming so far this spring. At press time, the most recent project updates and construction schedule posted to the DOT’s project website dated from November and December.

At public meetings earlier in the project, DOT officials explained that the contract with Sargent Corp. includes penalty fees if the work is not completed by a June deadline. Perhaps not surprisingly, before it all began it was reported that the firm hoped to have the work completed “well before that.”

It’s in everyone’s interest for the work to be done, and DOT staff and contractors continue to deserve patience and forbearance. But all parties should also remember that while the shifting traffic patterns may be old hat for local residents, new visitors and seasonal employees will need some help navigating the changes. Timely communication must continue to be a priority.

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