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Home >Wiscasset Bypass Study Announcement August 1, 2011

Wiscasset Bypass Study Announcement August 1, 2011

Dear Midcoast Bypass Task Force Members:

Earlier today, I spoke with officials from Wiscasset and Edgecomb to tell them that MaineDOT will not be moving ahead with the Wiscasset Bypass study.

Given the amount of time, effort and funding that has gone into this process, this was a very difficult decision, however, I made the decision based on an analysis of what will be demanded of the department over the coming years and the benefits that would be derived from constructing a bypass. Our responsibility going forward is to manage our existing obligations within our existing budget, and to limit adding new infrastructure to that which is shown to provide overwhelming benefits. We know federal transportation funding will continue to decrease, and the era of special earmarks for transportation projects is over.

The department has to look carefully at the potential cost and benefits of any new infrastructure being considered in Maine. Up until the last year, we believed that over time we could develop funding and make the case for spending what will be close to $100 million on this bypass, however, this is no longer possible.

Therefore, I have concluded that the long-term financial forecast – balanced against our number one priority of maintaining the infrastructure we already have and the limited benefits a bypass would provide – makes it impossible to justify that expenditure for this project. A project of this magnitude requires major federal participation as well as some kind of special funding for the state’s portion. We simply do not see this being available in the foreseeable future.

We know that summer traffic continues to present a problem in Wiscasset. The department will continue to aggressively pursue potential non-bypass solutions. As a result of the study, we have already instituted some system management measures, including the web cams linked to the changeable message sign on I-295, posting travel advisories to the web site and conducting a pilot study of the impacts traffic officers directing traffic and pedestrians may have in improving traffic flows in Wiscasset. We will also look at the other possible non-bypass infrastructure improvements identified in the study. Going forward, new and promising technologies are emerging. I am committed to finding more of these and other answers to the region’s traffic congestion as well.

I want to thank you all for the many, many hours of time you and other Task Force members spent on this process over the past several years. Your willingness to spend time working on this very challenging problem is much appreciated.


David Bernhardt,





This page last updated on 12/14/11