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On-Road Improvements

You will first need to determine the classification of the road along which you would like to build bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure. Roads are under the jurisdiction of the city, state or metropolitan planning organization (MPO) and fall into three categories: Major Collector, Minor Collector and Local Road. Knowing who is responsible for and the classification of the road you are interested in will help to direct you to the people you need to get in touch with. This information can be found at city hall, MaineDOT or your local MPO office if you live within MPO boundaries.

Major Collectors – MaineDOT is responsible for improving the state’s Major Collectors (unless the road is within an MPO boundary) because they serve statewide needs. If the road is a Major Collector, the municipality requests road improvements from MaineDOT or the appropriate MPO on a biennial basis (spring of even numbered years).

Minor Collectors - Towns have the responsibility for prioritizing improvements on Minor Collectors and must apply funding through the Rural Road Improvement Program for improvements. It is important to assess when the road is likely to be improved, (is the section of road in the MaineDOT Six Year Plan, or 2 year Workplan?) If just basic sidewalks are what the community wants, the cost may be covered as part of a future road project. If the community wants something more, it may be necessary to find additional funds locally or through the stand alone project process.

Local Roads – Local Roads are the responsibility of the city. Resources for projects at the local level usually come from either the local and/or state level. MaineDOT provides some funding to municipalities for improvements to local roads. Local municipalities generally create a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which outlines which roads will be improved. Local municipalities often target funds towards roadway improvements, sidewalks, and crossing improvements.

Once you have identified the road classification, and contacted the appropriate organization, the next step is to get involved in the transportation planning process. At the community level, priorities are determined by town officials and planners who then work with the MaineDOT or the metropolitan planning organization (MPO), i.e. PACTS, BACTS, KACTS or ATRC to get the project implemented. Most state and federal funding assistance for bike and pedestrian improvements requires communities to prove that its priority is more important or urgent than those of the other communities that are vying for the same money. The process of planning and securing funding for a project often takes years because projects and priorities are planned well in advance and funding, particularly for multi-phased projects, often is raised phase by phase.