ELLSWORTH – An already busy stretch of road is about to become even busier as the tourist season kicks into high gear.
The speed limit on Route 1A between Bangor and Ellsworth is 55 MPH, but it’s not uncommon for drivers to go much faster. Police said that combined with the road work being done near Ellsworth, it’s creating new safety concerns for drivers, especially when the weather is bad.
“We’ve noticed that during heavy rainstorms the milled surface doesn’t allow the water to drain as effectively if it hadn’t been milled,” Chief of Police, Glenn Moshier said. “We’ve noticed some standing water”
The Maine Department of Transportation officials said safety was the top priority for contractors.
“Milled surfaces are designed to drain sufficiently,” Paul Merrill, spokesman for Maine DOT said. “I know our crews went beyond the minimum drainage requirements on this project. But of course the weathers unpredictable.”
The construction zone stretches about seven miles long, but police said they at least want more signs warning drivers of the danger.
“The biggest thing is to just be aware and understand that it’s not the normal road condition,” said Moshier.
Officials with the Department of Transportation said they can’t do road work in the winter months when there would be less traffic on busy roads like Route 1A. They have put up signs to warn motorists and make the road as safe as they can while the area is under construction.
“We always tell drivers be alert when approaching and passing through construction areas, obey the work zone speed limits, stay in your lane, avoid distractions,” Merrill said. “Not only for your safety but for the safety of our men and women who are out there trying to do the work that is important to do on the roads.”
“Just be aware of it.” Moshier said. “Slow your speed down, be conscientious of other drivers, and just take your time and make sure everyone gets to where they need to be safely.”
Merrill says they will begin repaving some of the road as soon as this Thursday and the construction is expected to be done midsummer.