Despite claims of election irregularities and a last minute plea from downtown business owners to do nothing, the Wiscasset Selectboard voted unanimously to move forward with the Maine Department of Transportation’s option 2 to alleviate traffic congestion at their Monday, June 20 meeting.
“This is going to kill the town,” a resident shouted as the board unanimously voted to move forward with option 2, which will eliminate on-street parking between the intersections of Water and Middle Streets with Route 1.
The project in Wiscasset Village still has a long road to go before it is “shovel ready,” DOT Project Manager Gerry Audibert said, with construction probably not going to occur until well after the 2017 date the DOT previously anticipated.
The process the DOT will follow as it moves the project from a conceptual proposal into its design phase backed by federal funds will allow for public input, and hopefully address at least a portion of the multitude of concerns downtown business owners have expressed, he said.
While several members of the selectboard personally did not support DOT’s option 2, which was one of three options presented, each said they felt a responsibility to vote in accordance with the results of the non-binding referendum question at Wiscasset’s Tuesday, June 14 town meeting.
By a more than 2-1 margin, Wiscasset voters opted to go with DOT’s option 2, which garnered 426 votes. Option 1, which would have allowed for on-street parking between the intersections of Water and Middle Streets and Route 1, had 90 votes.
Option 3, which was to do nothing, was the preferred option of many downtown business owners – it received 206 votes at the polls.
A complete report will be available in the upcoming edition of The Lincoln County News