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Dover-Foxcroft traffic study kickoff meeting set for Sept. 19

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — For years drivers and pedestrians in downtown Dover-Foxcroft have dealt with many issues, such as tractor trailer trucks needing to cross the line into the other lane to make the turn on and off South Street, a lack of a crosswalk near the Mill complex, deteriorating asphalt and over a half dozen major routes and sidestreets all coming together in one location by the intersections of East Main Street with West Main Street and Route 7.

Earlier this year the selectmen took a step toward finding some possible solutions for the stretch of road where East Main, Pleasant, South, West Main, North and Lincoln streets all come together by agreeing to use up to $25,000 for the municipality’s 50/50 share with the Maine Department of Transportation on a traffic study for the downtown. The downtown includes the major routes to Bangor, Dexter, Milo and Greenville.

“We have a consultant on board, it’s Gorrill Palmer,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said during an Aug. 19 selectmen’s meeting about the South Portland-based firm. “We know them and they’re familiar with Dover-Foxcroft because they did our road study” as well as working with the MDOT elsewhere in the state.

Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
TRAFFIC STUDY FOR DOWNTOWN DOVER-FOXCROFT — Possible solutions to issues such as tractor trailer trucks having difficulties making the turn off and on Route 7 while staying in the lane will be examined through a traffic study for downtown Dover-Foxcroft. The town and the Maine Department of Transportation will be evenly splitting the up to $50,000 study cost with Gorrill Palmer Consulting Engineers of South Portland now on board as the consultant. A public kickoff meeting for the study will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Morton Avenue Municipal Building.

Clukey said on Thursday, Sept. 19 Gorrill Palmer officials are “going to spend the whole day here doing field observations and then the meeting.” A public kickoff session for the traffic study between Gorrill Palmer and the MDOT will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Morton Avenue Municipal Building.

“Anyone with traffic suggestions or questions can come,” Clukey said. “It’s really the foundation of future projects with them.”

This summer the MDOT installed cameras downtown for data collection and MDOT Commissioner Bruce A. Van Note toured the area. The timeframe mentioned for the final traffic report is to have the document finished by next April.

In other business, the selectmen approved the issuing of a request for qualifications for consulting services for a municipal solar project.

Clukey said new legislation provides opportunity for town solar initiatives, such as federal tax credits and other rebates. “Really the best next step I think, if we want to look at the next steps for a solar project, is called an RFQ,” he said.

The town manager said a request for qualifications is different than a request for proposals, which looks at all project details, in that the responder states what qualifies the firm best for the project. “I got a sample RFQ and tailored it more to our community,” Clukey said.

The board voted to move forward and proposals would be due by mid-September, with interviews starting soon after for town officials to make a decision.

“I’m really happy we’re doing this,” Select Vice Chair Cindy Freeman Cyr said. “I think the time is right and we can learn a lot about what our options are.”

“I think if you wait, the opportunities aren’t there anymore,” Clukey added.

The selectmen also appointed Daniel Moore to the board of appeals, for a near two-year term to expire on June 30, 2021.

“Now we have a full appeals board,” Clukey said. He said Moore contacted him after reading about the vacancy last month in the Piscataquis Observer.

“220 East Main Street is no more, the structure’s gone,” Clukey said in his report, as the town crew will grade the lot.

Selectman Steve Grammont said residents have thanked the town for having the tax-acquired, dangerous structure taken down — which had previously posed a health concern with the presence of rodents.

Freeman Cyr wondered what would happen to the 220 East Main Street property.

“I think the plan is to put it out to bid and there may be another property that goes out with it,” Clukey responded.

Grammont said he was also asked about the status of three old buildings owned by the town at Monument Square adjacent to the Moosehead property.

“I would like to get the buildings down, then it will be easier to conceptualize,” Clukey said about future uses for the property. He said the hope is to have the structures removed this fall and then discussions will take place with Jonathan Arnold of Arnold Development Group representing Moosehead.

“I think when we sit down to do it we will have some long-term options but we don’t want to do anything without knowing what the other side is doing,” Clukey said.

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