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US 1 in Wiscasset, ME

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Currently on vacation, eventually heading into Canada.  Spent the past day-and-a-half along the mid-Maine coast (Meaghan has a friend who owns an inn in Newcastle).  And both days so far, have been caught in what was a 30-minute delay trying to get through Wiscasset on US 1.

And from what I've been told by locals, this is a regular occurence, not just on summer weekends, but during the week now as well.  Numerous factors involved.  Looking at 2007 MaineDOT traffic counts, US 1 averages in the 17-20K range through Wiscasset, and this is no doubt much higher on summer weekends.  There's a 25 MPH speed limit with a few tight curves and a steep hill through town.  There's an at-grade rail crossing just before the bridge across the Sheepscot River.  And there are very popular tourist destinations in downtown Wiscasset that send a steady stream of pedestrians across the street.  Neither direction is immune...while I was caught in 30 minute delays on northbound (sic EB) US 1, the southbound direction was seeing delays of its own of at least 10-15 minutes.

As of last year, MaineDOT was working on a Draft EIS for a bypass project (which is SORELY needed, not to mention 4-laning US 1).  But the locals are telling me this has been pushed around for at least 4 decades...nobody can come to an agreement...and at this point it's doubtful funding could be found anyway.

So the situation is likely to stew...

Wow I didn't think Wiscasset was that crowded. I was there last year and it wasn't that bad, just minor town traffic. Freeport is another bad traffic town in Maine, but I-295 already by-passes it, so you can take that around town.

The Coastal Highway is a bear.  Maine should take a page from Rhode Island, build a new four-lane divided highway inland (few signals, Michigan lefts where required to minimize direct crossings), and designate the current highway Scenic 1A.

That would be optimum...but I just don't see it happening.  You could make an argument, based on traffic volumes, for 4 lanes out to Waldoboro, and for spot improvements pretty much along the entire corridor, but the only real bottlenecks along US 1 are at Wiscasset and Brunswick.

Brunswick is also a bad traffic area. That's why I am glad there is a freeway from there to Bath. But that still doesn't ease any congestion on Pleasant St or Mill St. A traffic circle is an option but that area is too tight to build one. Widning is a another option, but with all the businesses I doubt it. Another problem in Brunswick is that on Pleasant St, there is no left turn lanes at any of the traffic signals, side streets, businesses, or driveways.


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