Traffic light upgrades delayed

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Planned replacements of traffic lights around the Maine Mall were to happen last year, but are now expected to happen this spring.

The replacements will also see the coordination of traffic lights between intersections, and are hoped to improve traffic flows in the often-congested area.

During a recent open house with various transportation officials, PACTS Director John Duncan said he is fairly confident that 23 traffic lights around the mall will be replaced with newer signals this spring.

Plans also are being finalized for changes to the Exit 3 interchange with Broadway, Westbrook Street and Western Avenue. The entrance to I-295 now is a left turn from the mall after Pape Chevrolet. The project will make the entrance a right turn, improving flow and safety.

Work is expected to begin this spring and will take about two years to complete. It will cost $5 million, of which about $1 million is coming from the Grondin and Sons development of a 400,000-square-foot U.S. Postal Service distribution facility off Mussey Road. The contribution is to help alleviate traffic pressure the development will bring to the area.

Another project that is now in the planning stages, but may not be done this year, is widening the Payne Road bridge over the Maine Turnpike spur near Circuit City. The bridge will be widened to six lanes, Duncan said.

-Ken Tatro

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