Windham, Maine May Finally Adopt a Plan To Ease Traffic on the Route 302 Corridor
Windham has a traffic problem and has for decades as the town has grown and Route 302 has become a major business area. On Tuesday a vote by the Town Council could finally put a plan into motion to help fix the traffic nightmare this is the Route 302 corridor.
Summer Traffic in Windham Just Keeps Growing
If you've ever tried to get from the intersection of Roosevelt and Tandberg trails near Walgreens in Windham, down through the shopping area, and past the light at White Bridges Road, you know what a nightmare it can be at the height of the tourist season.
On Fridays, an endless stream of cars towing boats and campers comes from the Gray exit of the Maine Turnpike, over to Windham and takes a right toward Sebago Lake. On Sundays, it's the reverse. All those vehicles head home and back themselves up into the left turning lane, keeping anyone from turning into places like the Windham Plaza or Dairy Queen. It seems every summer the number of cars on 302 just keeps growing.
Windham Goes to Residents For Input
A community forum was held in May to ask what Windham residents thought were the best of three options. According to WGME 13, the first is to take what's already there on Route 302, install more signage, and change what some lanes are used for, be it turning, driving straight through, or lanes that allow both. If you ask me, signs are easily ignored. Changing what lanes are used for might have an effect, but it's not easy to keep traffic moving without reducing the traffic on the road.
The second option was to build two roads on each side of Route 302 to act as bypasses for the locals.
The third option combines the two. Have your bypasses but connect them at various points along the way, to reach the different parts of the strip you want to get to. North Conway did something similar when they built North-South Road, a three-mile bypass of their shopping area that has several connecting streets to 302.
Eight months later, the town is set to vote on Tuesday to adopt the North Windham Moves, Regional Mobility, Local Access Transportation Planning and Feasibility Study or as I'm calling it, the N.W.M.R.M.L.A.T.P.F.S. I pronounce it "Newmerlatfus." Several letters are silent.
According to The Windham Eagle, Newemerlatfus calls for creating three different connector roads. They would be designated the East, Middle and West Connector Roads. East Connector Road would run Franklin Drive to Route 115 and connect with Middle Connector Road.
Middle Connector Road would run from Franklin Drive to Landing Road and West Connector Road would run from Manchester Road to Whites Bridge Road.
The total cost of the project if all three connectors are built and land is acquired to build them, is just shy of $17 million.
Isn't this a bypass though? According to the "Newmerlatfus" report, that's not their intent. They are supposed to be for local residents to access businesses on the Route 302 corridor without using Route 302. Essentially a back door entrance for people living in the area.
Will it happen? We'll know if the plan goes forward after the vote on Tuesday. At this point and as a tax-paying resident of Windham, I don't care what they do as long as I can make a left turn into KFC and Dairy Queen without waiting 10 minutes for the tourists to get out of the lane on their way home.