November 20, 2013

Waterville Main Street traffic snarled by over 30-minute delays

City officials fielded dozens of calls about the traffic jam Wednesday near the intersection of Main Street and Waterville Commons Drive.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — City officials and police fielded dozens of traffic complaints early Wednesday after a traffic jam caught drivers for about a half-hour near the intersection of Main Street and Waterville Commons Drive.

Construction crews narrowed Waterville Commons Drive from four lanes to two lanes early Wednesday morning in order to pave the road. The paving was finished by late afternoon and traffic at the intersection was running normally at 2:30 p.m.

The construction was supposed to occur during the night when traffic was lightest, but was rescheduled when temperatures at night were too cold for paving, said Sgt. Dan Goss of the Waterville Police Department.

The department had an officer directing traffic for more than an hour early in the day to help the flow of traffic, and they also lengthened the time the traffic light was green to keep cars moving longer.

Goss said even with these measures, there was little the police could do to help since there is only one way out of the private drive owned by Waterville Commons, and there is no alternative route to suggest to reach the Waterville Commons businesses.

The congestion could be aggravated by additional construction 150 feet away at the Elm Plaza stoplight, Goss said, though he added there’s been construction there since earlier this week but it hadn’t caused a traffic jam.

Ron LeClair, of Winslow, said he was stuck in the traffic for an hour and a half trying to drive to Staples and was again stuck for an hour and a half — and 12 traffic light cycles — when he was trying to leave Wednesday afternoon.

He said he is frustrated with Waterville Commons for holding the construction during the day and the city for not finding a way to fix the problem.

“That was totally out of line,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 kschroeder@centralmaine.com
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