By Dee Menear
OXFORD — Preliminary plans to make changes to the intersection of Skeetfield Road and Route 26 were unveiled during a Maine Department of Transportation Public Hearing Thursday, July 18. The proposed project includes realignment of Skeetfield Road and construction of a right turn offset lane on Route 26.
The purpose and need for the project, identified in a MDOT safety improvement plan, is to improve the safety and functionality of the intersection, said Linda Greer, consultant with New England-base engineering firm Fuss O’Neill.
“It is a high crash location,” she said. “In 2012 to 2014, there were nine crashes at the intersection.Most of the crashes were what is considered failure to yield.”
There were 10 crashes in 2013 to 2015, she said.
A proposed Maine Department of Transportation safety improvement project could mean a new offset right turn lane for traffic turning right from Route 26 to Skeetfield Road in Oxford. Dee Menear/Advertiser Democrat
The proposed project will realign the intersection so motorists would be lined up at a 90-degree angle, giving them a better sight line for turning, she said.
The plan, as presented, will add an offset lane on Route 26 south for traffic turning right onto Skeetfield Road. Traffic turning right onto Route 26 from Skeetfield Road or turning left onto Skeetfield Road from Route 26 north will use the newly constructed lane.
The proposed lane will dissect a grassy lot co-owed by Rick Micklon of Otisfield and Harlan Johnson of Norway.
Micklon asked Greer if engineers had considered moving the proposed lane to the edge of the lot so it ran along a tree line of an abutting property.
“Right now you’ve rendered my lot unbuildable,” he said. “Why wouldn’t that be a better location than dissecting a single lot?’”
The planning committee did not consider bisecting the two properties, Greer said. However, the design presented was the less expensive option of several designs considered.
“This is the minimal amount of new road and new construction that needs to be done,” she said.
A proposed Maine Department of Transportation project to improve the safety of the Route 26 and Skeetfield Road intersection in Oxford includes construction of a new travel lane which could dissect the grassy lot on the right. Dee Menear/Advertiser Democrat
Greer said the department would be happy to discuss Micklon’s options prior to moving to the next stage of the planning process.
The flashing beacon at the intersection will be removed. In its place, flashing stop signs will be installed at the intersection, she said.
There was not enough traffic to warrant a traffic signal at the intersection, she said.
Greer said the project would take one construction season to complete. It is currently scheduled for 2021.
“Knowing the department just cancelled a bunch of construction projects across the state during that time frame due to lack of funding, I am wondering if this could be pushed to the back burner,” said State Rep. Kathleen Dillingham, R-Oxford.
We have the funding available,” said Brian Keezer, MaineDOT project manager. “If we go to bid and it comes back at 100% more than what we have for funding then we are going to have to re-evaluate.”
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