Despite the town’s objections, when the Moose Pond causeway at Route 302 is repaved, the granite blocks installed in the 1950s will be replaced with a guardrail.
The Bridgton selectmen learned about the plan in February and wrote to the Project Manager at the Maine Department of Transportation. “We are requesting that the aforementioned guardrails be eliminated from the project. As you may or may not be aware, the granite stones have been in place for a number of years and have proven to be an effective barrier. It is our understanding that there was a review of the accident record for this stretch of road which did not reveal a notable number of accidents.
Natural beauty and tourism are a major economic engine for the Town. The Causeway is a scenic, much-photographed area of Town both from land and water. Marring the vista with guardrails will diminish the attractiveness of the area and possibly have future economic impacts,” says the letter signed by Chairman Bernie King and the other members of the board.
In response to the board’s concerns, Bradford Foley, Highway program manager wrote that “In the interest of traveler safety, the Council decided that our current overlay project is the right opportunity to address the lack of appropriate barrier from the roadside hazards in this area. The Council’s decision is primarily based on the continued prevalence of ‘run off the road’ accidents in Maine and the ever increasing occurrence of distracted driving.”
Ofﬁcers of the Moose Pond Association David Ehrman and Steve Cavicchi, attended meetings and actively corresponded with many ofﬁcials at the Maine DOT to try to get some improvements in runoff management, safety and beautiﬁcation to the causeway while the repaving is happening. Their efforts focused on installing better drainage to handle the runoff from the road, widening the road so the breakdown lane could be larger and adding parking at Sabattus Island to encourage those stopping to photograph and enjoy the scenery at the causeway to park well off of the road. They also proposed a bicycle lane and making the causeway a no-passing zone.
Despite their efforts and the many congenial emails back and forth, however, the DOT engineers and others explained that for various reasons, economic and scientiﬁc, the MPA ideas won’t be ﬂoated.