OXFORD — No decisions have been made yet, but Town Manager Butch Asselin said July 9, he will submit a letter to the Department of Transportation this week outlining reasons why the town’s $60,000 share of the Rte. 26/Oxford Casino intersection project should be waived.
Asselin and Selectman Ed Knightly met with DOT Commissioner David Bernhardt, Stephen Landry, state traffic engineer, and Dale Doughty from the DOT Bureau of Maintenance and Operations on July 6 for an hour to discuss the Casino intersection project and other road projects in Oxford.
“I will be submitting a letter to the Commissioner this week outlining our reasons for requesting a waiver on the casino project. The intersection upgrade project is still on schedule,” he said.
The intersection project hinges on the three-way financial agreement between the state, Oxford Casino and the Town of Oxford.
The town’s share is one third of the total $180,000 cost of the project that is being split with the state and the Oxford Casino to redesign the intersection at the entrance to the Oxford Casino where two Rhode Island businessmen were struck and killed by a motorist while crossing the street back to the Hampton Inn on foot in July 2017.
The intersection was also the site of a second serious accident occurred later in the summer involving a motorist and an Oxford Casino shuttle crossing to the Hampton Inn.
The DOT has already posted reduced speed signs in the area and the redesign of the intersection is expected to go out to bid soon. Once the project is completed, the flashing yellow signal will be changed to a timed green-yellow-red sequence. Additionally a countdown push button pedestrian crossing and islands will be installed.
The pedestrian “countdown” crosswalk will not be installed until the lights are activated. The cost of the countdown unit is the Hampton Inn’s and not part of the $180,000 project cost.
Originally the cost was estimated to be about $400,000 to $500,000 (with a three-way split) but that cost was reduced to about $180,000 (or $60,000 each) when the state determined it could do the work as part of a planned overlay project on Route 26. That $980,000 overlay project is intended improve a stretch of Route 26 just north of the Mechanic Falls line and extend northerly 2.26 miles past the Oxford Casino.
Although voters at the June 9 Annual Town Meeting agreed to set aside $50,000 in the Capital Improvement Account toward the project, officials hope that money can be saved for other purposes.