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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will a final decision be made on the preferred alignment?

A: A Phase II Alternatives Analysis was submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers in December 2008. The Corps issued a letter of comments on March 9, 2009 and MaineDOT responded with a Phase II Alternatives Analysis Supplement on September 28, 2009. In addition to responding to the Corps’ questions, the Supplement includes responses to all substantive comments that were received on the October 2007 Draft Environmental Impact Study. The Corps is now ready to issue a public notice as part of its determination of the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA). The LEDPA is the alignment that will receive environmental permits, so it in effect will be the final decision. The Corps will issue its public notice in January 2010, allowing 30 days of substantive comments (not opinions), after which it will make the LEDPA determination.

Once the LEDPA is announced, MaineDOT will release the Final Environmental Impact Statement and FHWA will issue its Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD is expected by the fall of 2010. Once the ROD is obtained, MaineDOT will be able to seek funds to begin right-of-way acquisition and final design. This will likely be a multi-year effort. In the meantime, MaineDOT will continue to work with the Town of Wiscasset and neighboring communities on Intelligent Transportation Systems and other interim solutions to help relieve traffic delays in downtown Wiscasset.

Q: I am trying to sell my property but it may be impacted by one or more of the proposed bypass alignments. When will the final alignment decision be made, and how can I sell my property to the State quickly if it has to be taken?

A: MaineDOT submitted a supplement to the Phase II Report to the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) on September 23, 2009. The ACOE will now determine the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA). That determination will indicate which of the three remaining Build alternatives can receive the required environmental permits, which in effect will be the final say as to which alignment can be built. From there, we will be able to conclude the Final Environmental Impact Statement, followed with the FHWA Record of Determination. That will allow us to then enter into the final design and to begin property acquisition, pending funding availability. We expect ACOE will publish the public notice for the 30-day comment period and will issue a LEDPA determination by early 2010. We encourage everyone to submit comments to ACOE during the public comment period, indicating which alignment they prefer and why.

In the event that someone's property would result in a taking and the property owner wants to sell its property, they could submit materials to MaineDOT claiming a hardship. The hardship eligibility requirements are summarized in the paragraphs below. They are also available at:

If a hardship is deemed to exist, we could consider purchasing the property after the LEDPA is received, pending the availability of funds.

  • 5-7.03 Hardship Acquisition Procedure:
    “Advance acquisition may be authorized when the owner of a property has a reasonable basis for claiming a hardship arising from a pending highway acquisition. When the State concurs with an owners’ request for a hardship acquisition, the State is not required to accelerate condemnation if an agreement cannot be reached with the property owner. If an agreement can’t be reached then the State may defer acquisition of the property to the time it would normally occur in the schedule. The owner should be informed of this possibility when the request for hardship acquisition is accepted.
  • The Department may consider the following conditions as hardship circumstances:
    • Health/Safety Risks. Continued occupancy of a residence poses health or safety risks to the occupants. For instance, a family member may be incapacitated and unable to use a bathroom on the second floor or a house may contain environmental risks such as lead base paint when there are children in the household.
    • Financial Hardship. The owner will suffer a financial loss due to an inability to sell the property when there is a valid need. For instance, a property owner may wish to take a job in another State and is unable to sell the house at a fair price because of market knowledge of pending highway acquisition.
      In addition to the health, safety or financial hardship, the owner must also document an inability to sell the property for fair market value within a typical period of time. Some factors to consider include whether:
      • The property owner openly marketed the property through a realtor, a listing service or through other means.
      • The owner or realtor conducted a market analysis to determine a listing price disregarding any increase or decrease in value caused by the project.
      • The property has been on the market for an amount of time typical in the area and available for inspection by prospective buyers.

The Department will carefully consider all requests for hardship acquisition on their merits. A right of way agent who becomes aware of a situation that could fall within the hardship acquisition criteria is encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of the Senior Property Officer and the Property Office, for full review. It is appropriate for Property Office staff to assist an owner in preparing a written request for hardship acquisition.

When the State determines that a hardship exists and elects to proceed, the offer of just compensation must be based on an appraisal of the fair market value, and negotiations must proceed in good faith with sufficient information provided to the property owner for making an informed decision.”

Q: Does MaineDOT have a preferred route?

A: MaineDOT and FHWA have recommended the N2a alignment as the LEDPA, but the US Army Corps of Engineer has the final say and has previously indicated it's preference for N8c.

Q: Why has this project taken so long?

A: One could point to several reasons why this project has been considered several times over the past four decades. The various study phases have looked at a large number of alternative routes as well as transportation alternatives to building a bypass such as trains or buses.The study area is densely populated and rich in historical and environmental resources, making it challenging to develop a route with minimal impacts. The lack of consensus among local communities about the need for a bypass and objections to the many alternative routes have also delayed the project. This time, the environmental analysis of the remaining alternative routes has been long and thorough to ensure that all potential effects of the project on the region’s heritage, culture, and economy are identified. Our goal is to provide all available information to the public so that the right choices for the area can be made.

Q: Why will this public process be successful when previous ones have failed?

A: Because we will work to a final conclusion of the bypass issue. For comparison purposes, the DEIS addressed the pros and cons of a “no build” option as well as the current alternative routes. It’s our objective to work with the Midcoast Bypass Task Force to communicate the DEIS findings to their respective communities and organizations. With all of the information on the table and with the willingness of communities and organizations to collaborate in reaching a resolution that everyone can live with, it is our goal to settle the bypass issue one way or another.

Q: Who selected the members of the Midcoast Bypass Task Force?

A: The communities and organizations the members represent selected the members. In 2006, the MaineDOT sent a request to local towns and community and environmental organizations to appoint representatives to the Task Force. Because they are most impacted by a possible bypass, Wiscasset and Edgecomb each have three representatives. All other towns and organizations each have one. New names have been added as municipal post ions changed.

 

This page last updated on 5/16/11