2014-03-14 / Community News

Oak Hill improvements make headway

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


A new series of traffic improvements, including new sidewalks, improved street lighting and a new esplanade by Walgreens, may be coming to the Oak Hill Intersection this summer. The recommendations, which came from the ad hoc transportation committee, may be funded through traffic impact feesin the town’s fiscal year 2015 capital improvement project budget. (Michael Kelley photo) A new series of traffic improvements, including new sidewalks, improved street lighting and a new esplanade by Walgreens, may be coming to the Oak Hill Intersection this summer. The recommendations, which came from the ad hoc transportation committee, may be funded through traffic impact feesin the town’s fiscal year 2015 capital improvement project budget. (Michael Kelley photo) A series of proposals that were unveiled at last week’s Town Council meeting may soon make the heavily traveled Oak Hill intersection a safer place for both pedestrians and motorists.

The recommendations come from the ad hoc transportation committee, a group formed in 2012 to look at ways of improving Scarborough’s roadways for all users. Town Planner Dan Bacon said much of the group’s work was born out of reviewing previous traffic studies, including the 2005 Townwide Transportation Report, the 2006 Oak Hill Intersection Study and the 2011 Oak Hill Pedestrian Plan.

Many of the committee’s previous recommendations, which included sidewalks on the east side of Black Point Road from Eastern Road to the front of Amato’s, crosswalk signals leading to the Eastern Trail as well as on Pine Point Road and Black Point Road, have been completed and were funded by the town.

Private developers will fund other improvements, including new sidewalks in front of the Biddeford Savings Bank on Route 1 and in front of the Emeritus Senior Living Facility on the corner of Black Point Road and Route 1.

The Scarborough School District has committed to improving the crosswalk on Gorham Road that leads from the school campus to Hannaford Drive.

“There is a pretty diverse partnership and funding sources,” Bacon said.

Improving the Oak Hill intersection, Bacon said, has been a longtime goal of the town.

“It is an intimidating place for people to cross, but is an important linkage to the Eastern Trail and the neighborhoods off Black Point Road,” he said.

Additional improvements to the intersections may be coming this spring and summer. Bacon said the committee has recommended improving street lighting at the intersection’s four corners, a new crosswalk between Walgreen’s Pharmacy and the Citgo gas station and reconfiguring the gas station’s entrance off Black Point Road.

Bacon said the committee also recommends the elimination of the right turn only lane to Gorham Road and replacing it with a landscaped esplanade, which would ease congestion at that traffic light and help stormwater drainage by eliminating an impervious surface.

The turn lane in front of the Scarborough Public Safety building, Bacon said, will be given a textured treatment to prevent motorists from using it as a travel lane.

Bacon said the next step in the process would be to get additional input from the Town Council this spring, formally design the project and construct the project over the summer and be completed by this fall.

The $280,000 cost for the projects, he noted, could come from the transportation impact fess developers are required to pay when they bring more traffic to an area.

Town Manager Tom Hall said this summer may not be the best time for such improvements, particularly given the inconvenience motorists had to deal with last year during a months-long improvement plan at Dunstan Corner. The town, he said, may be suffering from “construction fatigue.”

“In all five years I’ve been here, we have had various sections of Route 1 under construction,” Hall said. “While we may be ready, we may want to push it back a little bit to give people some relief.”

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