It would be nice if there were a way to rebuild a road without closing it, at least partially, but there isn’t. For the section of Route 3 in Bar Harbor currently being rebuilt, the annual average traffic count is as high as 10,000 vehicles a day. That’s a lot of people who need to navigate construction detours and delays.
Right now, in the short window late enough in the spring to prepare for paving but early enough to avoid large numbers of tourists, is perhaps peak disruption season. The complete closure of a few blocks of Eden Street is stretching several days longer than planned. At the same time, there’s sidewalk work in downtown Bar Harbor and some disruptions to electric and water service.
But those who live here year-round and travel the affected routes the most know that a newer, nicer, rebuilt road will require a little pain and sacrifice. In meetings of the community advisory group that worked for nearly five years on the plans, and in workshop after workshop hosted by the Maine Department of Transportation, the message was clear: Rip the bandage off quickly. Let’s get it over with.
And in the second year of the Route 3 project, affected groups have a better idea of what to expect. Motorists can avoid speeding through the side streets where residents and animals are unaccustomed to more traffic. Local residents can recommend and patronize the businesses that tourists may have a harder time finding. And in a few short months, we’ll see less orange on the roads and enjoy a much smoother ride.