Media Archive

DOT previews local road and rail projects in six-year plan for Piscataquis region

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 52, December 25, 2002

By Ben Bragdon
Staff Writer

DOVER-FOXCROFT Officials from the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) traveled up to Piscataquis County this week to update the public on the road and rail projects expected to be completed locally and around the state over the next six years.

Members of the DOT's Bureau of Planning presented the agency's Six-Year Plan, a report listing the major transportation policy initiatives and capital improvement projects intended to be funded during the next three 2-year budget cycles. The plan is updated every two years, and new projects are added based on a combination of need, available funds, and policy direction. Though inclusion on the list is no guarantee of imminent funding, budget concerns have already been figured partly into the Six-Year Plan, so it is more than just a blanket wish list.

For each Six-Year Plan, municipal and county input is gathered to gauge where preservation and improvement are needed most throughout the state, and seven regional committees also provide recommendations as to where transportation funds would be best spent.

Local projects on the slate for the next six years include three sections of Rt. 15 between Dover-Foxcroft and Abbot. A 1.3-mile stretch from just south of the Range Rd. in Dover up to the Bear Hill Rd. is on the list, as is a 1-mile section from Main St. in Guilford to the Abbot townline. A 2.7-mile stretch from a mark one mile south of Gales Road heading up to the Transfer Station Rd. in Abbot is also planned.

Likewise, three stretches of Rt. 7 between Dover and Dexter are expected to be funded within the next six years. A half-mile section from East Main St. in Dover south to Grove St. on Rt. 7 made the list. Another 3.7 miles of the road, from the Shaw Road north to a point just under a mile from the Borough Rd. in Dover-Foxcroft. Further south, a 1.4-mile part of Rt. 7 in Dexter from Lakeview Ave. to Mechanic St. is slated for reconstruction.

In Milo (see sidebar), the mile from the northerly junction of Rt. 11 south to just past Davis St. in is included in the Six-Year Plan, as is a 14-mile stretch from Rt. 6/16 down Rt. 11 to Rt. 15 in Bangor. Projects are also in line on : small sections Rt. 6/15 between Jackman and Greenville, Rt. 1 between Skowhegan and Guilford Rt. 16 from Bingham to Abbot, and on Rt. 6/155 between LaGrange and Howland.

When earmarking resources for certain projects, the DOT prioritizes based on a policy that puts the basic preservation of the system above all else. When those needs are met, the agency moves toward investment in the transportation improvement with the goal of a safe and efficient system. Beyond that, the DOT addresses issues of transportation mobility and aims to connect all modes of transportation, both passenger and freight. Remaining funds would be used for projects that increase the transportation system's capacity.

With a new administration taking over the Blaine House in Augusta, overall, big-picture transportation policy may be slightly altered based on the incoming governor's priorities, said Dale Doughty of the Bureau of Planning. But since most projects are completed based on the need for those projects in the pursuit of a safe and efficient system statewide. Doughty does not expect the above list to be affected, though much is up in the air due to the budget cruch facing the state during the next 2-year cycle.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.