NEWS OF: 12/1/2005

Gorham By-Pass Q & A

VIEW ALL: Maine

What is the history of the Gorham By-Pass?
The Gorham By-Pass was originally discussed by the community during the 1950s and was included in the Town’s 1960 Comprehensive Plan. Since then, there have been sixteen studies involving the Gorham By-Pass. The most recent study was requested by the Town and done under the direction of the Maine Department of Transportation to comply with comprehensive federal environmental laws. The initial public meeting for the study took place in July 1999 and over 21 public meetings were eventually held from mid 1999 to early 2002. The study cost in excess of $1 million and is now completed.

How much did the study cost the Town?
The Town contributed $25,000 to the study. The balance of funding came from the Federal Government and State Government.

What is the Gorham By-Pass?
The Gorham By-Pass consists of two roads. The Southern Route starts on South Street (Route 114) between Waterhouse Road and Straw Road and travels northwesterly to Brandy Brook Hill (near Curves) on Route 25. The Northern Route starts at Mosher’s Corner (intersection of Routes 25 and 237) and travels northwesterly over Fort Hill Road and intersects with Route 25 just below Rust Road. Both roads are two-lane roads (1 lane in each direction) and combined are approximately 8.4 miles in length. The By-Pass will have a right-of-way of 200 feet and be a limited access road, meaning that direct access from abutting properties will not be allowed.

Where will the money come from to build the By-Pass?
Congress recently appropriated $15,720,000 for the By-Pass project. There is also some additional funding in the Maine Department of Transportation budget. These funds are intended to construct the Southern Route first. Any money that remains after completion of the Southern Route would probably go towards starting the Northern Route. Additional money from Congress would be needed to complete the Northern Route.

When will the project start?
The project has already started with an active search for a project to mitigate the 20 acres of wetlands that would be disturbed by the project. Over the next several years, MDOT will do the final design on the Southern Route and acquire the right-of-way for the project.
Our best “educated guess” is that actual construction on the Southern Route will begin in 2008.

When will construction on the Northern Route begin?
At this point, we don’t know and couldn’t provide even a reasonable or educated guess. Before construction can begin, Congress will need to appropriate more funds for the project.

If I own property in the area of the By-Pass, what will happen?
If your property is located within the proposed right-of-way, the State will need to acquire your property for the project. The State must pay a fair market value for the property. If the property owner and the State disagree on the fair market value, the property owner may appeal.

As the Maine Department of Transportation’s project development team move forward, there will be additional meetings to further explain the project to the public. Property owners who will be impacted by the By-Pass can expect to be contacted directly by the Maine Department of Transportation. For more details about the acquisition process, please contact the Maine Department of Transportation in Augusta (telephone #207-624-3300) and ask for a copy of The State of Maine: A Landowner’s Guide to the Property Acquisition Process.

Is there some place where I can view the Southern and Northern By-Pass Routes?
Yes, there are large aerial photos with the Southern and Northern Routes posted in the hallway of the Municipal Center.

I have heard talk about a turnpike toll road coming to Gorham. Is this related to the By-Pass?
Yes, they are related. First, the purpose of the Gorham By-Pass is to reduce traffic in Gorham Village and improve traffic safety in the Village by diverting the large trucks currently making a turning movement at the Route 25/114 intersection in the Village onto the By-Pass. The By-Pass was not intended to solve another traffic congestion problem at the intersection of Routes 22/114. A turnpike road that connects onto the By-Pass would reduce traffic congestion at the 22/114 intersection and other local roads and allow traffic to flow directly out to the turnpike.

How far along is this turnpike road?
The Maine Turnpike Authority, Maine Department of Transportation, and Town of Gorham are very enthusiastic about the idea, and the Turnpike Authority is studying the financial feasibility of the project. At this point, the project is still very preliminary and a great deal of study will need to be done before it gets constructed.

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